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HAP Educates State Lawmakers on Medicaid’s Importance

November 16, 2021

Medicaid helps about a quarter of Pennsylvanians access necessary health care, serving as a critical safety net for many working families and middle class individuals who need long-term care, HAP told state legislators today.

HAP joined fellow members of the Pennsylvania Provider Advocacy Coalition at the State Capitol for an educational presentation to members of the General Assembly about Medicaid in the Keystone State. Jeffrey Bechtel, HAP’s senior vice president, health economics and policy, spoke along with representatives from several other coalition member organizations.

The presentation didn’t include a specific advocacy ask. Instead, the goal was to help lawmakers better understand Medicaid’s importance to their constituents, dispel misconceptions about the program, and highlight some ongoing challenges.

Key messages included:

  • Serving older adults and people with disabilities: Medicaid pays for long-term care expenses that are not covered by Medicare. Most of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid funding—78 percent—goes to helping older adults and people with disabilities
  • A critical safety net: In Pennsylvania, Medicaid covers 2 in 3 nursing home residents, 1 in 5 people under 65 with chronic disabilities, 1 in 4 children under 21, and 2 in 5 births
  • Vital for working families: Half of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid expansion population is working in a given month. Many people don’t have health coverage through work or need coverage for significant, chronic conditions
  • Good for Pennsylvania: Medicaid has been found to improve health outcomes, result in stronger financial security for beneficiaries, and help individuals with substance use disorder access treatment so they can return to their jobs and regular lives
  • Providers help fund Medicaid: Assessments on providers help fund Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, relieving stress on the state’s general fund budget

The group also identified challenges facing Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, including, but not limited to, demographic changes that are increasing Medicaid use, the need to maintain adequate funding, underpayments to providers, workforce shortages across health care, and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.