Health - February 28, 2014

Corbett’s Medicaid Waiver: Unhealthy for Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, February 27, 2014 – Dr. Dan Schatzberg, President of the Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association spoke out today against the Governor’s “Healthy PA” waiver plan for Medicaid expansion.

“If Governor Corbett’s “Unhealthy” Pennsylvania waiver is accepted by the federal government, it will create a two tiered system of health care – one for the rich and one for the poor. It will deny low income families any opportunity to receive chiropractic podiatric or optometric care and push them to more costly alternatives,” said Schatzberg.

 “Governor Corbett has been playing coy with the federal government about the expansion of Medicaid.” Said Schatzberg. “He has been turning his nose up at a $42 billion investment in peoples’ lives and health care businesses in Pennsylvania because of his stubborn opposition to anything connected with the Affordable Care Act.”

One of the “conditions” for federal money that is contained in the Governor’s waiver proposal is the elimination of podiatry, optometry and chiropractic services as a covered Medicaid benefit.

Dr. Schatzberg noted that: “The Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association represents 4,500 licensed Chiropractors in Pennsylvania. We provide cost-effective care to patients who consistently rank us at the top of consumer surveys for satisfaction and positive health outcomes. Every credible study in the last 20 years has recognized chiropractic as a cost-effective alternative to other, more invasive procedures. Many of us serve poor patients even though the current Medicaid reimbursement is as low as $13.00 per visit.”

“The “Healthy PA” Waiver request is cruel, short-sighted, and misguided, said Schatzberg. “ It must be rejected by the federal government.”


Medicare underfunding catching up to skilled nursing facilities

Two independent reports on the financial instability of Pennsylvania’s skilled nursing facilities reveals the insecurity of future care for some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens.  Stuart H. Shapiro, M.D., President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), revealed the startling figures and recommended action to state legislators at a press conference at the state capitol on February 21st.

The studies revealed that profit margins for Pennsylvania’s skilled nursing facilities have decreased by 63 percent between 2007 and 2013 from 3.2 percent to 1.2 percent.  This margin shortfall is tied directly to the amount of Medicaid recipients in the facility.  The profit margin for facilities with 75 percent Medicaid occupancy dipped to 0.3 percent in 2012.

Skilled nursing facilities in Pennsylvania have an average of 65% Medicaid occupancy and are significantly underfunded compared to other health care industries. “Pennsylvania reimburses nursing facilities $26 a day less per resident than the true cost of care,” reported the PHCA/CALM, a statewide advocacy organization for older residents and their care providers.  “That shortfall has more than doubled since 2007, when it totaled $13.23 per resident per day.  Unreimbursed Medicaid costs in Pennsylvania will exceed $470 million this fiscal year.”

Dr. Shapiro has asked legislators to make funding of Medicaid a priority during the on-going budget discussions.  Shapiro is asking the legislature for an additional $16 million would go to nursing facilities that care for a higher concentration of Medicaid recipients. 

To access both studies visit