DiGirolamo Urges Department of Public Welfare: Enroll Now, Continue to Negotiate
HARRISBURG – During a hearing before the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) on the administration’s “Healthy PA” plan, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), chairman of the House Human Services Committee, urged the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to accept Medicaid expansion dollars while allowing Pennsylvania to continue to negotiate with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“We need to help individuals sooner rather than later,” DiGirolamo said. “While the Healthy PA plan continues to be negotiated with HHS, reports show that it could take as long as a year to a year and a half for the federal government to tell us what it will accept or not. Our citizens don’t have time to wait. When they have a serious illness, they cannot wait up to 18 months to see a physician or get the medication they need to get healthy.”

The Department of Public Welfare is currently holding a series of statewide hearings to gather public comments on the draft of the Healthy PA plan. This is part of the process to obtain approval from the federal government.

“Every day Pennsylvania waits to accept the federal assistance, we lose out on $10 million to help our citizens who are in the greatest need of health care,” DiGirolamo said. “This not only delays assistance for our citizens, but it puts off the creation of 100 jobs each day. Several studies have pointed to the positive economic impact Medicaid expansion will have on job creation, at no cost to state taxpayers.”

During the hearing today, DiGirolamo urged Secretary Bev Mackereth and the administration to begin the process of accepting citizens into an expanded system immediately.

“While the state negotiates with the federal government on the proposed Medicaid changes, we can still begin to immediately help our citizens. That way, when this change is accepted, it will be simple to just transfer the new enrollees into the program,” DiGirolamo said. “In the meantime, I still have very serious concerns regarding many of the provisions of the Healthy PA plan, most notably requirements for work searches, premium costs, new screening instruments, retroactivity and other barriers for people to get the coverage they need.”

DiGirolamo also noted that this recommendation would save money and time when federal approval is granted.

Representative Gene DiGirolamo
18th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
GeneDiGirolamo.com / Facebook.com/GeneDiGirolamo