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Press Release: Medicaid Letter Signed by Over 1300 Catholic Sisters, Priests and Brothers Delivered to Pennsylvania Governor Today

FOR RELEASE: March 20, 2013

CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 ext. 224,   

Washington DC: More than 1300 Catholic Sisters, Priests and Brothers from 19 different congregations signed a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett calling on him to end his opposition to Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania. The letter, which is being hand-delivered to Governor Corbett’s office today, pointed out that refusing to expand Medicaid would “breach the moral duty” to Pennsylvania’s families in need. The governor recently announced his opposition to accepting federal funding for expansion of health coverage to more low-income people in his state.

The signers, along with other members of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, have requested a meeting with the governor to discuss their experiences working with Pennsylvanians directly impacted by his decision.

The June 2012 Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) ruled that states could not be required to expand Medicaid to include people up to 133% of the federal poverty level. Some governors, including Governor Corbett, indicated they would oppose expansion in their states. This is despite the fact that 11% of Pennsylvanians, including 232,000 children, lack health insurance.

As noted in the letter, Medicaid expansion “would provide health care for up to 700,000 Pennsylvanians who currently lack coverage, while simultaneously offering Pennsylvania tremendous cost savings opportunities, including savings on uncompensated care costs, behavioral health expenses, immunizations, and other costs currently borne by our state.”

Catholic Sisters and others hope to discuss Medicaid expansion with Governor Corbett as soon as possible.

A copy of the letter follows:

The Honorable Tom Corbett
Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Dear Governor Corbett:

We, the undersigned Catholic Women and Men Religious serving low-income and vulnerable families and individuals in Pennsylvania, strongly urge you to accept the federal funding available to provide health coverage to include all persons who earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Our Catholic faith tradition and Catholic Social Justice Teaching call us to advocate for the right of all human beings to have access to the basic necessities that enable them to live productive lives with dignity. Among those is the right to affordable healthcare. Failure to expand Medicaid as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act will breach the moral duty to those who are on the ma