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Medicaid Expansion in Pennsylvania Falls By The Wayside In Legislative Tussle

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(John Dodds of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project addresses marchers outside the Philadelphia office of Gov. Tom Corbett in April.  File photo by Cherri Gregg)

(John Dodds of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project addresses marchers outside the Philadelphia office of Gov. Tom Corbett in April. File photo by Cherri Gregg)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania is on hold for the summer as the state Senate backed away from its standoff with the House on the issue.

The Senate inserted Medicaid expansion language into the state welfare code, part of the package of bills to enact the budget.

But the House removed it (see related story), and the Senate yesterday decided to pass the House version and send it to the governor, who also opposes Medicaid expansion for now.

“Someone used the words ‘dare the House’ or ‘dare the governor,’ ” says Senate majority leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester).  “That is not, I think, an appropriate thing for us to do at this point in time.”

But Sen. Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, wanted to stand firm.

“It’s worth fighting for — it’s worth fighting for,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “These folks who live in our communities have to have somebody to stand up for them.”

The majority leader, meanwhile, also called for advancing the welfare code bill now without Medicaid language because it also seeks federal money for hospitals.

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