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Health Care Advocates Lining up to Testify About Corebett’s Proposed Medicaid Plan

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(The Philadelphia hearings on Gov. Corbett's Medicaid plan are scheduled for the National Constitution Center.  File photo by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio)

(The Philadelphia hearings on Gov. Corbett’s Medicaid plan are scheduled for the National Constitution Center. File photo by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare will hold hearings tomorrow on Governor Tom Corbett’s plan to expand Medicaid.

The hearing was originally scheduled for the morning,  but interest in the hearings has been high and registration filled so quickly that the department added an afternoon session.  And that filled up, too.

Among those testifying at the National Constitution Center will be Laura Weinbaum of Project HOME, who says she’s happy the state is willing to offer coverage to more of the uninsured, but troubled by the terms the plan imposes, including premium payments and a work-search requirement.

“There’s just a lot of different situations that we see people in on a regular basis that would not be accomodated for under the new Healthy Pa. proposal,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Weinbaum says Corbett’s plan would also slash benefits, even for the 1.2 million current recipients.

Kristin Doama, of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, says that’s the opposite of what the federal government’s proposed Medicaid expansion is supposed to do.

“Pennsylvania  is the first to use the Affordable Care Act to actually slash coverage,” Dominic says.  “This is a steep retrenchment of the existing Medicaid program in a way that is harmful for individuals with disabilities, the seniors, the pregnant women who already rely on Medicaid.”

The federal government has offered to fully fund Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, but Pennsylvania would need a waiver to get the funding under the terms the governor has proposed.

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