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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett speaking at podium
Another Republican fighting for his political life through Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) is facing an extremely tough re-election this November. Probably not at all coincidentally, Corbett has decided to give up on some of his demands for Medicaid expansion in the state's application for a waiver, and accept the administration's offer.
Health PA would also make sweeping and somewhat controversial changes to the existing Medicaid program, such as allowing some low-income individuals to be charged premiums for coverage and consolidating most existing benefit plans.

Reducing the number of plans from 14 to two (a high-risk and low-risk plan) will be permitted, as will allowing premiums for people earning above 100 percent of the poverty level, starting in the second year of the plan.

The Republican governor had already agreed to back down from one of the most controversial aspects of the plan, agreeing to make a work search requirement he originally sought to impose into a voluntary pilot program. No other state imposes such a requirement for enrollment in its Medicaid program, and the state had acknowledged it would likely be difficult to get federal regulators to agree to it.

The state had also agreed to not cut the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities program, which covers 33,000 low and middle-income Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

Not all of these changes are good for Medicaid as a program or good for the low-income people of Pennsylvania in the long run, but they will have access to health insurance beginning in January—as many as 500,000 could be eligible. And on the bright side, if Democrat Tom Wolf wins in November, he can cut all those strings and just accept straight up Medicaid expansion.

So about that "Obamacare being a disaster for Democrats" narrative. ... Medicaid expansion gets very solid support in Pennsylvania, and swing state governors who have accepted Medicaid are doing better in the polls than those who haven't. Smartly, Wolf has been campaigning on the issue. Because it's a winner. Corbett just proved that.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 01:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Southeastern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, and Daily Kos.

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