Today, Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16) led the Pennsylvania Republican delegation on a letter to Gov. Ed Rendell (D) calling for him to reject healthcare legislation that would place burdensome new mandates on the state. Gov. Rendell recently joined with other Democratic governors on a letter to Congress supporting healthcare legislation that would expand Medicaid to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty level.
While expanding healthcare is a laudable goal, this federal mandate would require Pennsylvania to increase state Medicaid spending by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. Additionally, federal subsidies for Medicaid would end in 2019 leaving states to pay the full cost of Medicaid expansion. In Pennsylvania, the cost would be approximately $930 million in 2020 alone. Pennsylvania's recent budget crisis illustrates how difficult it is for the state to maintain a balanced budget with rapidly increasing costs of government programs.
Rep. Pitts statement follows:
"We are calling on the governor to reject this huge unfunded mandate on Pennsylvania. This legislation will not only make insurance more expensive for every American, but will also increase Pennsylvania's Medicaid liability by $2.2 billion over the next decade. We all saw how hard it was for the Pennsylvania's General Assembly to write this year's budget, even after billions of dollars of federal aid. This unfunded Medicaid mandate will make future budgets much harder. Deep cuts to critical services or huge tax increases will be the only possible solutions.
"Perhaps the governor didn't read the legislation before he endorsed it. Now that he knows what it will do to Pennsylvania, we are calling on him to change course. We invite him to join with us in urging Congressional leaders to slow down this freight train and work in a bipartisan fashion, so we can carefully and intelligently reform the system."
The letter is available on Rep. Pitts website: www.house.gov/pitts.