Republicans in the state Legislature show no signs of backing off their deep hatred of health care. And come fall 2012, you might see the making of a Pennsylvania constitutional amendment to prove their point.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court held up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And within hours of the decision, Gov. Corbett made clear that he wasn’t happy with it. While not outright saying he didn’t plan to comply with it, he noted he’d “ensure the negative impact of this law affects the lives of Pennsylvanians as little as possible.”
When PW attempted to get some specifics, we were sent an email from Deputy Director of Communications and New Media Kelli Roberts, reading: “The Governor has not at this time made a formal decision regarding federal Medicaid expansion, we are currently looking at the costs to assess true state impact.”
See, the court decision allows states to deny the act’s Medicaid expansion provision, which adds people with incomes below 133 percent of the $11,170 federal poverty level to the public rolls. Several governors, including Rick Perry of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, have pledged to deny the new medical insurance to their state’s poor.
But the Legislature could take the whole thing even further. Some Republicans in the state House and Senate have pledged to “stop the intrusion by the federal government into their lives” by any means necessary. And at this point, the only option would be a constitutional amendment. Obviously, getting something like that done would be tricky. But hey, voter-ID passed, so you never know.
In fact, back in March, on the same day voter-ID was passed, a state Senate panel approved a proposal that’d make the ‘individual mandate’ portion of the health-care act illegal. Which means nothing—yet.
To put that idea into law now that the decision has been handed down by the Supreme Court, the anti-health-care legislation will have to be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions. Then, it would have to be put on the ballot and approved by a majority of Pennsylvania voters. Best-case scenario for Republicans: It’s on the ballot in May 2013. Which is possible, considering what we’ve seen out of Harrisburg over the last year.