Note to Lawmakers: The Power Is Yours!

One of my favorite cartoon’s growing up was Captain Planet. The cartoon’s catchy theme song ended with an emphatic, “The power is yours!” It’s a message all of our state lawmakers need to hear as they contemplate expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania.

Up until now, the national debate has focused on governors, but governors can’t expand Medicaid alone. Lawmakers will have to approve or reject the disastrous federal scheme.

Hearings will began yesterday in Arizona on Republican Governor Jan Brewer’s proposal to accept the Medicaid expansion deal. Republican lawmakers in the legislature oppose the measure with good reason. Arizonians voluntarily expanded Medicaid in 2000, resulting in more uncompensated care at hospitals, more access problems for the insured, higher rates of uninsured among the expansion population and costs that were triple the original estimates.

Lawmakers in Florida are also flexing their muscles. The state made national headlines a few weeks ago when the House and Senate killed Medicaid expansion enabling legislation after Republican Gov. Scott announced he would support a Medicaid expansion.

Unfortunately, some lawmakers are pushing the opposite way. Texas Governor Rick Perry is among the staunchest opponents to the Medicaid expansion, but lawmakers in Austin are beginning to consider a modified expansion in order to capture billions in federal dollars.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have already voiced their position, 38 House members signed a letter urging against the expansion and Rep. Stan Saylor has introduced a bill to prohibit the expansion.

Lawmakers will have the final say on any expansion. They should continue to question the wisdom of dumping hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians into a dismal program that needs much more than a few periphery concessions to deliver quality care.

Urge your lawmaker to oppose the Medicaid expansion and stand up for real health care solutions by clicking here.