Dressed in Halloween costumes, organizers with advocacy groups Working America and One Pittsburgh stood outside of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Pittsburgh office today to call for the expansion of Medicaid.
“I think everyone in America is entitled to healthcare,” said Penny Barrett, a One Pittsburgh volunteer from Troy Hill. "I think healthcare needs to stop being about business. It’s a human right."
As part of the Affordable Care Act Pennsylvania could receive federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage to a larger number of low-income uninsured individuals, but Gov. Corbett has denied the expansion.
Starting in 2014, the expansion would extend Medicaid to individuals making up to $15,900 and families of four with income up to $32,400. According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, this would benefit an estimated 700,000 Pennsylvanians.
Among the protestors was Georgeanne Koehler, who says her brother died at 57 because he was denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition and could not receive the necessary healthcare.
“Without Medicaid, he couldn’t get insurance with a pre-existing condition, but he made too much to qualify for Medicaid,” said Georgeanne Koehler. “Our health should never be a matter of politics. It’s a matter of life and death.”
Gov. Corbett is looking into an alternative approach that would use the federal funding to provide subsidies for individuals who want to purchase private insurance plans.