Protecting Medicaid for the Poor

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has trimmed Pennsylvania’s Medicaid rolls by 150,000 people since August. Welfare spending advocates and organizations receiving welfare dollars have criticized the move, contending the department is acting illegally by ending Medicaid benefits for eligible Pennsylvanians. In reality, the department is reviewing the more than 150,000 cases that were overdue for their six month reviews when the Corbett administration came into office. At least 4,000 of those removed from Medicaid rolls were deceased and others had moved to different states.

Why the push to contain Medicaid costs? A recent NASBO study highlights how health programs for the poor are claiming a bigger share of states’ spending this year. Nowhere is this more evident than Pennsylvania, where Public Welfare surpassed Education as the largest department in the state budget.

Enforcing the review requirement for Medicaid cases is not about stopping benefits for low-income Pennsylvanians, but protecting benefits for those who truly need assistance without increasing the burden on taxpayers.