State officials came to Central Pennsylvania on Tuesday to hear how residents feel about the Healthy Pennsylvania Plan. Governor Corbett is proposing it, as an alternative to expanding Medicaid, under the Affordable Care Act.
The Department of Public Welfare took testimony from more than a dozen people at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona. The hearing, one of six across the state,is required as part of the Corbett Adminstration's efforts to get a federal waiver from expanding Medicaid.
Before the hearing got underway, nurses from UPMC Altoona demonstrated in opposition to the Healthy Pa. Plan. Its major initiatives include using federal money to buy private healthcare coverage for Medicaid recipients and instituting a work requirement for them.
Members of the nurses union say the proposal would cut Medicaid spending and leave working families without health coverage.They favor Medicaid expansion.
Sue Delozier, a registered nurse at the hospital said, "I think that would be a great benefit to hospitals and nurses. It would give care to people who are in the gap, that are uninsured."
However, State Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth said, "we're getting to the same results as they would like to see and we believe we're doing it in a way that's better for Pennsylvania and clearly more sustainable for taxpayers."
Mackerath says Healthy Pa. doesn't cut Medicaid, it targets coverage to those who need it. She'll submit testimony from hearings across the state to the federal government which will decide if Pa. gets a Medicaid waiver.