Dear editor:

Pennsylvania needs to move forward and expand health care coverage today!

Thanks to the new health care law, we can accept $43.3 billion from the federal government to provide health care coverage to 700,000 Pennsylvanians. Why wouldn’t we do it?

The majority of uninsured folks are working, make more than $5,000/year (which if you’re going to get Medicaid based just on income that’s how little you need to make to qualify), but don’t make enough to purchase private health insurance. They are also disproportionately women, because women typically have jobs in the service sector like working as a waitress or as a long-term care worker. Many of these women have families and struggle to stay healthy for their children.

All hard-working Pennsylvanians deserve the security of knowing they can get the care they need when they need it without racking up huge medical bills.

The question before our lawmakers is: do we accept $43.3 billion in federal funds to cut our uninsured rate in half, create tens of thousands of jobs, and save taxpayers $848 million that would otherwise be spent treating the uninsured OR do we send that money back to the federal government?

The answer is clear. It just makes common sense. That’s why even Republican Governors who were very much opposed to health care reform have come out in favor of this. It’s a deal that’s too good to pass up. As other states around us are moving forward (like Ohio, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, New York) I’d like to see Pennsylvania move forward too.

Karen Davis