This blog post originally appeared at SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, Wednesday, January 22, 2014.
Governor Corbett had a rare run-in yesterday with a man who was tragically affected by the Governor's refusal to accept Medicaid Expansion. The Governor has been known to avoid the people most affected by his policies.
Outside the doors to a $1,000 a plate Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Governor Corbett met with Scot Rosenzweig, a man from Allentown whose uninsured fiancé recently passed away from untreated health conditions.
Transcript of the exchange caught on video:
Rosenzweig: "You're trying to work on the Healthy PA initiative, and -- understand, I am a Republican. [inaudible] I think maybe we should consider accepting the Medicaid expansion while we work on fixing the problem."
Corbett: "I can't do that. I can't do both. It's one or the other."
Rosenzweig: "We can't get rid of it after? How many people have to die while we work on the problems?"
Corbett: "We are -- I will tell you this. I believe we will have [Healthy PA] before the end of the year."
"If she had access to good, preventative healthcare services when she needed it, her life would have been saved," said Rosenzweig.
In the encounter, Mr. Rosenzweig gave the Governor an enlarged photo of his fiancé and encouraged him to expand Medicaid. Governor Corbett said that he can't both expand Medicaid and work on fixing problems he sees with the system, but he assured Mr. Rosenzweig that "I believe we will have [Healthy PA] by the end of the year."
Governor Corbett's proposed alternative plan to Medicaid expansion -"Healthy PA" - will cut existing Medicaid coverage for seniors, people with disabilities and pregnant women while imposing new and unnecessary government mandates. Additionally, if a version of the long-delayed plan is approved by federal officials expanded coverage will not take effect until 2015, leaving 400,000 people to be denied insurance and forced to risk their health for at least a year.
That's too little, too late for Rosenzweig, who asked the governor, "How many people have to die while we work on the problems?"
"Governor Corbett needs to see and hear the consequences of his decision to delay Medicaid Expansion for hundreds of thousands of uninsured people all across the state. We are not just talking about facts and figures; real people's lives are at stake," said Rosenzweig in a media statement.