Senator Martin: Wolf’s Veto Prevents Millions in Human Services Cost Savings

HARRISBURG – Governor Wolf’s veto of amendments to the Human Services Code will block the state from realizing millions – or potentially billions – of dollars in cost savings to taxpayers, according to Senator Scott Martin (R-13).

House Bill 59 would have created a pilot program that would make use of new technology to incorporate evidence-based medicine into care decisions for Medicaid recipients. The program is intended to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs to taxpayers by ensuring Medicaid patients get the care they need, while at the same time preventing misdiagnoses and avoiding unnecessary and costly emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

The plan is patterned after a successful program in Alaska that has helped reduce misdiagnosis rates, improve outpatient care, cut waste, and trim Medicaid costs by over 14 percent. Experts estimate that a similar program in Pennsylvania could generate upwards of $2 billion in annual savings. Pennsylvania’s current budget deficit stands at $2.2 billion.

“Medicaid is an enormous part of our state budget, and the cost to taxpayers will only continue to grow in the future,” Martin said. “As we continue to grapple with a multi-billion dollar deficit, we should be exploring every way to potentially save tax dollars. It is extremely disappointing that Governor Wolf chose to ignore the potential benefits of a program that has already proven to be successful in other states.”

“We have an obligation to manage taxpayer resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. That’s exactly what my proposal was designed to do,” Martin said. “While this veto will delay efforts to save taxpayer dollars, I will continue to work with all of my colleagues in the Senate and the House and use every tool at our disposal to rein in Medicaid costs and ensure this program provides the best possible care to patients and the lowest possible cost.”

“This pilot program would provide numerous benefits without costing the Commonwealth any additional money. It is baffling to me that Governor Wolf would rather side with special interests instead of exploring a proven program to make people healthier and reduce costs,” Martin said.

The bill also included reasonable work and job search requirements for able-bodied, non-disabled, non-elderly, non-pregnant adults who receive Medicaid.

“Vetoing commonsense work requirements is an insult to every hardworking Pennsylvanian that goes to work every day to provide healthcare benefits for his or her family,” Martin said.

CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535

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