“The misleadingly named ‘Healthy PA’ moves in the wrong direction, toward privatization, which is good for corporations intent on making profit,” said Lehigh Valley Greens’ Martin Boksenbaum “not so good for people.”
As the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center [http://pennbpc.org/governor-corbett’s-‘healthy-pa’-plan-summary] states, “Individuals newly eligible for Medicaid with incomes from 0-133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) would purchase insurance on the exchange rather than becoming eligible for traditional Medicaid.” And while “Healthy PA” will expand Medicaid to some low-income individuals, it will entail a restructuring of the current Medicaid system with a scaled back benefit plan, new cost sharing, and a work search requirement.
“Greens are not fans of Obamacare,” said Hillary Kane, at-large member of the Green Party of Pennsylvania Steering Committee. “But Corbett is basically reducing benefits and access to care under the guise of ‘expansion’ and compliance with Obamacare.”
The Corbett administration will need to get waivers from the federal government because the changes it is making are not consistent with the Medicaid statute. Apropos of that point, Kane stated, “We urge the federal authorities to reject this plan.”
The major problem with approaches focused on health care rather than on health, like Healthy PA and Obamacare, is that they are dealing with the casualties of our dysfunctional, bottom-line feeding industrial system rather than with the causes of the majority of health problems and, therefore, the rising costs of healthcare: the toxins our dysfunctional industrial system pumps into the environment and, consequently, the heavy load of toxins pumped into our bodies. If Corbett was concerned about health and in reducing disease, and therefore reducing healthcare costs, he would not be supporting fracking, the oil and gas industry’s lastest awful contribution to the load of toxins our environment and our bodies bear, or Act 13 [http://celdf.org/section.php?id=325], the legislature’s latest action to aid gas corporations — the latest empowerment of a state agency to override community decision-making aimed at protecting the community’s health, safety, and welfare.
Looking at the larger picture doesn’t mean one should ignore the many instances in which individuals and families are in pain.
One provision of the Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid to thousands of low-income adults who are currently not receiving it and ensures federal funding to cover those additional costs. But Gov. Corbett’s proposed expansion has many new stipulations, applicable to both new enrollees and existing participants, that create a significant, sometimes insurmountable, financial barrier. For example, anyone making minimum wage, which is approximately $15,000 a year and also below the federal poverty line, are staring up at this barrier.
Paul Glover, long-time Green and founder of PhilaHealthia HealthCare Co-op [http://www.healthdemocracy.org/philahealthia.html] said, “Medicare can be extended to all Pennsylvanians in a manner that reduces costs and speeds access, by establishing a genuinely nonprofit health co-op infrastructure. Greens will push to rebuild our medical system so that it is affordable, democratic and humane. When conservatives don’t conserve and liberals don’t liberate, Greens become centrists because we offer real solutions to basic needs for secure housing, healthy food, and affordable health care.”
The Green Party of Pennsylvania is working toward a sustainable system that does good by design via grassroots democracy, social justice, nonviolence, and ecological wisdom. For more information on the GPPA, please contact 888-721-4733 and [email protected]