By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Local grassroot organizations and politicians, hoping to put pressure on Gov. Tom Corbett to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, took to the streets of Philadelphia today to make their case.
About 100 protesters marched from Philadelphia City Hall to Corbett’s regional office at Broad and Walnut Streets, demanding that he agree to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 700,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians.
“We’re hoping that this kind of pressure will help influence Corbett in a positive way,” says John Dodds of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, which helped organize the event in Philadelphia. “People below 133 percent of poverty, which is up to $32,000 a year for a family of four, are going to be knocked out of getting insurance, and these are the people that need it the most.”
People like Hope (far left in photo below). Now in her 20s, she came to the protest in a wheelchair.
“I have spina bifida,” she said. “We need our health care. Without it I could be forced to go into a nursing home.”
Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Hughes (D-Phila.) spoke at the protest, saying that accepting $1 billion in federal dollars for Medicaid expansion would be good for the state.
“If we take the money and put the program together in Pennsylvania, in two years we’ll create 41,000 jobs,” Hughes said. “It means we can take people off of unemployment and put them in employment!”
The Philadelphia march was one of eight across the state. Gov. Corbett has not indicated when he will make a final decision on Medicaid expansion.