Governor Shapiro and Secretary Arkoosh: Stop the Cuts to Medicaid!

Governor Josh Shapiro and Secretary Val Arkoosh

Medicaid recipients and members of the Nonviolent Medicaid Army are rejecting the state of Pennsylvania’s plans to strip Medicaid from up to 1.2 million people this year. We are demanding that no one lose their healthcare, and in fact that PA should expand Medicaid to cover all PA residents, fully restore the Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit that was cut in 2011, and that the legislature pass a law that establishes an office of the Public Healthcare Advocate for Pennsylvania.

Since the pandemic, more than 3.5 million people in Pennsylvania have received continuous necessary care through Medicaid without having to navigate the complex and time-consuming eligibility process.

Now, following Congress’s bipartisan decision to end the continuous coverage requirement on April 1st, (which also decouples ending the coverage requirement from the ending of the Public Health Emergency declaration), over 15 million people in the U.S. are facing the prospect of becoming uninsured or being forced to purchase private health insurance plans with high copays and deductibles. Over 1 million of them are Pennsylvania residents. This is happening amidst historic cost-of-living and public health crises.

PA is sitting on an $8 billion budget surplus and there is nothing more important than using these funds to ensure the health and welfare of all our residents.

Petition by
Nijmie Dzurinko
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

To: Governor Josh Shapiro and Secretary Val Arkoosh
From: [Your Name]

To : Governor Josh Shapiro &
Acting Department of Human Services Secretary Valerie Arkoosh
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Re: Stop Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Cutoffs

Dear Governor Shapiro and Secretary Arkoosh:

In light of the critical importance of Medicaid and CHIP in people’s lives and to public health in Pennsylvania, we ask you to:

-Put an immediate halt to the State’s Medicaid cut-offs.
-Expand Medicaid to all Pennsylvania residents.
-Reinstate dental coverage for adults on Medicaid.
-Fully support the creation of a Public Healthcare Advocate office to support people’s rights in Medicaid and throughout the health care system.

Medicaid is an essential part of our healthcare system that funds hospitals and healthcare facilities and enables 3,595,000 people in Pennsylvania to get the health care they need without cost barriers. Everybody has a fundamental human right to receive health care, and Medicaid makes Pennsylvania stronger for everyone.

We understand that your administration has begun Medicaid renewals that may result in up to 1.2 million people being cut off from their basic human right to healthcare through Medicaid. Although people will be told they can try to reapply or enroll in private insurance, there are no guarantees they can secure affordable health coverage, much less health care, when they and their families need it. Income limits, asset tests and other eligibility restrictions for Medicaid and CHIP are far too tight, and because poor and dispossessed working-class people’s employment, income, age, family status, housing access and other life circumstances change all the time, people will be thrust in and out of eligibility or may never receive letters about the cut-offs. And the lowest-cost private insurance plans cover little and come with unaffordable deductibles and copays that block people from getting care. All this will leave people without care. The Urban Institute estimates that your administration will drive 104,000 people into un-insurance through the cut-offs, bringing the total number of uninsured Pennsylvanians up to 581,000 people. This is on top of at least 670,000 people who technically have insurance but can’t get the care they need because they are underinsured.

We implore you, as Governor and Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services, to uphold your responsibilities to the people of Pennsylvania, and especially to the 3.6 million poor and dispossessed working-class people, elders, children, veterans, and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid every day. Stop the cut-offs, give everyone dental care, and work with Put People First! Pennsylvania and other people’s organizations to move toward expanding Medicaid to all residents of our state and creating a Public Healthcare Advocate office.

Thank you for your time and consideration.