It appears as though Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has decided to run for worst governor in America. Increasingly, Corbett looks like he has a personal vendetta against health care, especially for the underprivileged.
In 2011, Corbett signed a bill that targeted abortion providers by forcing most of the freestanding abortion clinics to close. This June, he signed a bill that prohibits private health insurance companies that sell coverage through the Pennsylvania state health insurance system from covering abortions, even if there is a medical emergency, the mother is endangered, or there is a severe fetal anomaly.
Now, Corbett has blocked federal money to help expand Medicaid in his state. Over 700,000 Pennsylvanians will be left without state health insurance.
"It leaves a lot of Pennsylvanians in the dust in terms of their access to health care and that’s just unconscionable," said Pennsylvania Representative Erin Molchany of Mt. Washington.
The Rand Corporation reported that Corbett's decision will cost Pennsylvania over $3 billion in federal aid, which could have brought 35,000 new jobs to the state. Also, hospitals will lose $550 million annually in emergency room costs that would have been covered by the expanded Medicaid program.
Just last week, Corbett told WTAE, a local ABC affiliate, that poor residents who are already enrolled in Medicaid receive too much free care and should have to start paying into the system.
"What I hear all the time coming out of the administration in Washington is that it's the working poor [who benefit from Medicaid]," Corbett said on Saturday. "Yes it is working, but you should be investing five, ten dollars in co-pay to understand that you go to the hospital or the doctors, you just can't keep going and going and going and think everything is going to be covered. You have to know that you have some interest in what's going on."
Two weeks ago, a man wrote "CORBETT HAS HEALTH CARE, WE SHOULD TOO" in chalk outside the governor's residence.
The chalker, AJ Marin, was arrested for "disorderly conduct," and the citation stated that "he did write a derogatory remark about the governor on the sidewalk."
But how is it derogatory? Corbett does have health insurance, and there is nothing insulting about suggesting he does. Besides, it was sidewalk chalk. Just go get the hose.