HARRISBURG, Pa. -

The head of a lobbying group for Pennsylvania hospitals said an infusion of federal Medicaid dollars is key to reducing $1 billion a year in care for patients without insurance.

Andy Carter, president and chief executive officer of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, said Monday the group is working with Gov. Tom Corbett to win approval for his unique plan for spending the federal money.

Corbett proposes to use the money to buy coverage for the uninsured instead of expanding the state Medicaid program.

Carter told business people and journalists at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon the administration's proposal would provide coverage for at least 350,000 uninsured residents.

He said most observers believe Pennsylvania will achieve close to universal coverage regardless of how the federal money is spent.