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Politics & Government

With Corbett's Medicaid Plan, a Familiar Rift in His Own Party

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to reform Medicaid and extend federally subsidized private health coverage to half a million more Pennsylvanians is riling up the staunch conservatives within his party.
GOP state Representative Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County says he’s calling the proposal an expansion, even if the governor isn’t using the same language.

"The governor can call it whatever he likes, he can say it’s not Medicaid expansion, but at the end of the day, everybody who’s honest with themselves has to admit that this is expanding welfare in Pennsylvania," Metcalfe said. "When you’re going to use government tax dollars to buy insurance and force the taxpayers to pay for their neighbor’s insurance, that is welfare."  

Meanwhile, the state Republican party and the Republican Senate Majority Leader have voiced support for Corbett’s approach. House Republican leaders haven’t come down on either side of the proposal.
Metcalfe, who has become one of the governor’s most vocal GOP critics in recent months, said Corbett’s Medicaid plan is a political stunt meant to bolster his poll numbers.

"The governor is not going to get away with at this point in his term coming out and making this type of a proposal and thinking that it’s going to save him in next year’s elections," Metcalfe said.

While he isn’t in the House leadership, Metcalfe has served as the de facto leader of a hard-right contingent within the House that vowed to oppose Medicaid expansion as well as new funding for transportation infrastructure.