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May 6, 2013 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

WATCHBLOG: Corbett sees Affordable Care Act “collapsing,” “believes in conspiracies”

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

ACA IN PA: Gov. Tom Corbett, during his Feb. 5 budget address, said he could not recommend a Medicaid expansion for the state at the time. He has since met with federal officials on the matter but has not made a recommendation to expand, much to the chagrin of the law's supporters.

ACA IN PA: Gov. Tom Corbett, during his Feb. 5 budget address, said he could not recommend a Medicaid expansion for the state at the time. He has since met with federal officials on the matter but has not made a recommendation to expand, much to the chagrin of the law’s supporters.

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has made no secret of his concerns about the Affordable Care Act.

He remains steadfast in his uncertainty about the Medicaid expansion piece of the legislation. He’s reiterated costs to the state would be too much to absorb – and he doesn’t trust the federal government to pay for the program.

And as one of the state attorneys general who filed a federal lawsuit contesting the act, Corbett played a primary role in the political battle the law inspired.

But when Corbett spoke at a recent panel discussion in Washington, D.C., he pointed out another aspect of the legislation he finds troubling – that the many problems it could bring to states and the health care system was the plan all along.

Tracie Mariello of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last week on Corbett’s comments at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s America’s Small Business Summit:

The law’s most cynical critics have said its liberal architects intended businesses to opt out because that would force people into insurance exchanges, essentially using a back door to create the kind of single-payer health care system that Democrats have been unable to get through Congress.

“I see the whole thing collapsing and, potentially, in the long run that may have been the plan,” Mr. Corbett told summit attendees Monday. “I’m a prosecutor. I believe in conspiracies.”

These comments disappointed some Senate Democrats, said Sen. Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia, along with those who’ve championed the Medicaid expansion as a boon to the state’s uninsured and the overall economy.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said he’s frustrated there hasn’t been movement on the Medicaid expansion discussion.  Beyond that, Costa said the comments are more evidence of a direct connection between Corbett’s “mindset” and his policy decisions.

“When you look at the Medicaid expansion which is an integral part of the Affordable Care Act, his unwillingness to go forward with it because he believes it’s part of a conspiracy is troubling,” Costa said.

As the health care legislation begins to be implemented on the Medicaid front and otherwise, Corbett is hardly the first to forecast failure on the legislation. According to the article in The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, Maine’s governor is openly discouraging businesses from participating in the act because it eventually will fail.

Gov. Paul LePage of Maine said he’s working to help the failure along by discouraging companies in his state from participating in the mandate to provide health insurance to employees.

“I tell Maine businesses to pay the penalty” instead of providing coverage, the governor said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s America’s Small Business Summit. “It would be cheaper by just writing a check for the penalty and then let Obamacare fall on its own weight. In one year it would falter.”

Also, earlier this year, U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he sees a “train wreck” coming. Baucus, who helped author the law, criticized the federal government’s handling of the law’s public information campaign.

Contact Melissa Daniels at melissa@paindependent.com

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Melissa Daniels is a reporter for PA Independent. She can be reached at 717-350-0962 or Melissa@PAIndependent.com

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