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Healthcare Advocates Line Up To Testify At Hearing On Pa. Medicaid Expansion

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(Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania Welfare Department officials planned to take testimony, today, on the state’s plan to expand Medicaid under certain conditions. Numerous health care advocates have signed up to testify.

The Affordable Care Act intended all states to expand Medicaid but the Supreme Court left it up to each state. Governor Corbett resisted, at first, then agreed to the expansion but with substantial changes to the Medicaid program.

Welfare Department spokesman Kathleen Gillis says the changes are to make the program financially sustainable. “We’ve developed a plan best for Pennsylvania and that, when everyone gets an understanding of, they’ll agree.”

“We just don’t think this is the right way to do it,” says Kristen Dama of Community Legal Services. She’s among those who’ll testify that the changes create too many obstacles for new recipients and hurt current ones. “This is a really steep retrenchment in a way that’s harmful to the disabled, elderly and pregnant women.”

The hearing is the third of six the state is holding.

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