Pa. governor rejects Medicaid expansion

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) said Tuesday that he "cannot recommend" expanding Medicaid under President Obama's healthcare law.

In a letter to Health secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Republican governor said participating in the federal Medicaid expansion would require tax increases in the state.

"Our initial estimates show that a Medicaid expansion under the [Affordable Care Act] would cost Pennsylvania almost $1 billion of new state taxpayer dollars through fiscal year 2015-2016, ultimately rising to a total cost of over $4.1 billion of new state taxpayer dollars by the end of fiscal year 2020-2021. Without reform, the only way to support these costs would be a large tax increase on Pennsylvania families," Corbett wrote.

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The decision breaks a recent trend of Republican governors who oppose the healthcare law agreeing to push its Medicaid expansion in state legislatures.

Ohio Gov. Tom Kasich (R) announced his support for the policy on Monday, joining Govs. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.), Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.), Jack Dalrymple (R-N.D.) and Susana Martinez (R-N.M.).

The Affordable Care Act encourages states to extend Medicaid coverage to people living at or below 133 percent of the poverty line using mostly federal funding. The move is optional thanks to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law.

House Democrats slammed Corbett's decision Tuesday as "short-sighted" and "fiscally irresponsible."

"Budgets are statements of priorities, and it is clear by today’s budget that Governor Corbett’s priorities are simply not aligned with middle-class Pennsylvania families," Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) said in a statement.