Energy - September 13, 2013

Corbett will accept funds for Medicaid expansion

It’s been reported that Governor Tom Corbett is planning a press conference on Monday to announce that he will accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.  Coverage will be expanded to include about 682,000 more Pennsylvanians in a program that will “rely on private-sector health plans.”  Governor Corbett’s office released a statement confirming the move but noted that he “does not support growing an entitlement program as he has been very clear about the need for reform.”  Corbett has resisted Medicaid expansion until now, questioning whether the federal government would keep its promise to continue to fund the program.  In January, the federal government will roll out one hundred percent of the funding for newly eligible Medicaid recipients.  In three years the funding level will begin to drop slowly and by the year 2020 funding will be at ninety percent.  The Pennsylvania Senate passed legislation in the spring to expand the program but the issue died when the House removed the provision from the budget.  A number of supporters have been pushing for the expansion, including some lawmakers, hospital executives, labor unions and the AARP. 


Pa judge halts same-sex marriage licenses

Judge Dan Pellegrini has ordered Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The judge avoided most of the controversy surrounding the issue by stating that Hanes does not have the authority to ignore the law as it stands since the law has not been ruled unconstitutional.  Hanes said he will comply with the order but may appeal the ruling.  The larger issue surrounding this matter is Pennsylvania’s 1996 Marriage Law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.  That law is being challenged in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union.