LANCASTER –Pennsylvania Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander and Congressman Joseph Pitts joined together today in Lancaster to hold a news conference marking the second anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the negative impacts it will have on Pennsylvania.

"Even in a very tough fiscal situation we are reforming Public Welfare to allow the department to continue serving millions of Pennsylvanians in need. The cost implications of this law will have a dire effect on our ability to serve our most vulnerable citizens," said Alexander.

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Instead of reforming Medicaid, the law greatly expands the program, adding over 800,000 Pennsylvanians by 2019. By the time it is fully in effect, one in four Pennsylvanians will be on Medicaid.

"In a time when we should be controlling government spending we mark the two year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act to remind Pennsylvania taxpayers that government under the Obama Administration is growing at unsustainable levels," said Congressman Pitts. "We can no longer ask Pennsylvania taxpayers to shoulder these heavy handed programs that will grow government in a way that is detrimental to our fragile economy."

"Pennsylvania already outspends 48 other states on its Medicaid budget, far beyond larger states like New York and California," said Alexander. "The implementation of this law will cause DPW's future budget situations to be exponentially worse."

Currently, Medicaid consumes 52 percent of the Department of Public Welfare's budget and 79 percent if federal spending is included. With the health care law in place, and the expectation of increasing enrollment and higher cost needs, opponents say Pennsylvania will be left in a more critical budget situation than our state is currently experiencing. They predict 60 percent of the entire state budget will go toward welfare.

"This law will cost Pennsylvania billions of dollars and force the state to reduce spending on education, roads, and public safety," said Alexander. "After the first few years of implementation, states, like Pennsylvania, will be forced to foot even more of the bill."

Alexander stated, "It is time for Washington to allow the states more flexibility to provide services. We know better than Washington what our citizens need most."