Under the Hat: Caught In the Middle - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Caught In the Middle

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The testimony was, at times, heartbreaking.

Hard working people who don't make enough to have health insurance, waking up every morning to roll the dice that they won't get sick or injured before day's end.

The unlucky ones are now facing thousands of dollars in bills, money they just don't have.

The venue was the Blasco Library where lawmakers on the Democratic House Policy Committee were meeting.

They are trying to rally grass roots pressure to get Governor Tom Corbett to change his mind on expanding the public Medicaid insurance program.

Part of the President's Affordable Care Act allows states to opt in or out of that expansion.

It would cover an additional 500,000 Pennsylvania resident s currently without insurance. Washington would pay the full cost of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent of the cost for the next seven.

The Democrats on the committee see it as a no-brainer; money from Washington to do the humane thing and cover those in need.

But Corbett and other Republicans know that big budget battles still lie ahead in Washington and if Pennsylvania extends coverage and then the money dries up, it will be state coffers footing the bill.

That bill is 43 billion dollars for ten years. And that's just for Pennsylvania.

The concerns are legitimate all around; both the human toll of families living without insurance and the reality that a government 16 trillion dollars in debt is in no position for a massive expansion of benefits with no clear way to pay for it.

And half a million Pennsylvanians are joining with millions more across the country, caught in the middle.

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