Pennsylvania still shaky on Obamacare mandate, Medicaid expansion

(The Reporter) Pennsylvania lawmakers asked the federal government several questions in August about implementing two major features of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

And they are still waiting for answers, particularly related to the costs for the health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion.

“We’re looking into all of the options at this point in time,” said Christine Cronkright, a spokeswoman from Gov. Tom Corbett’s office.

Whichever route the state takes, the exchange must be operational by the start of 2014. However, whether the state pursues the optional Medicaid expansion by January 2014 is less certain.

The state will have to tell the federal government of its plans to set up an exchange by Nov. 16, but they’ll have some time to hammer out the details. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on Friday notified states that the deadline to send in blueprints for the exchanges was extended to Dec. 14.

The Insurance Department has said it won’t decide on how to plan for the exchange until it has more information.

“Given the extent and nature of the questions that remain open, we have determined that at this time it would be imprudent for us to continue extensive planning efforts until we receive answers to these items,” wrote Insurance Department Commissioner Michael Consedine in an August letter to Sebelius.