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Mixed reactions to Corbett's Healthy Pa. plan

Mixed reactions to Corbett's Healthy Pa. plan

Governor Tom Corbett has gotten federal approval for elements of his Healthy PA plan.

It's the state's alternative to Washington's Medicaid-funded health care expansion.

The plan would extend coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Nearly a year after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett laid out his Healthy PA plan, he finally has an answer from the federal government.

"I think this is a positive step but I think there is a lot more ground to cover," said Cary Moritz of Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley.

More than a half million low income Pennsylvanians are now in line for federally funded health insurance, this after the state's plan to accept Medicaid expansion money under the 2010 Federal Health Care law was approved.

"It's a PA specific plan. Takes a lot of reliance off that federal government support," Kate Gillis of the Department of Public Welfare said.

Enrollment starts December 1, with the plan going into effect in January.

Pennsylvania's plan bypasses the federal insurance marketplace and instead enrolls members into managed care plans offered by private insurance companies outside the exchange.

"There are still going to be tremendous holes," Moritz.

Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley, which services victims of domestic abuse, is concerned about access to care, especially for those who lost their jobs.

"We have people who are working and then the abusers come to the place of employment one too many times, which causes them to lose their job, which causes them to lose their health coverage," Mortiz said.

Corbett did agreed to back away from work search requirements and agreed not to cut the medical assistance for workers with disabilities program.

His camp says the program is a way for people to change behaviors and allows more to benefit from the health care they're given.

However many social services agencies, including Arc of Pennsylvania, are concerned about money running short after the federal stipend eases in 2017.

"This is a monumental undertaking and we hope that folks don't lose coverage or are not lost in the paperwork," Maureen Cronin said.

However Corbett says the plan can sustain itself but this could all be moot if Tom Wolfe wins the November election and adds his own changes.

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