The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a travel restriction order to Pennsylvania for the first time. 

The order comes a day after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that will ban any federal funding to schools, colleges, universities, churches, and other institutions that accept federal money for travel and educational purposes. 

It was part of a package of measures that Wolf, a Republican, signed in March, after the White House rejected the governor’s proposal to extend a state-sponsored, $3 billion state health insurance program to cover a group of young people who had been out of work since March, according to The Associated Press. 

Pennsylvania is one of four states that will not be allowed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

This is the second time the HHS has issued such a travel order, and the first to ban federal funding from schools, universities and other federal entities, which includes the Smithsonian Institution, the National Institutes of Health, and National Park Service. 

In the Pennsylvania order, the Department of Education says it will not receive federal funding for travel or education activities related to the ACA, and that travel must be approved through the state’s public health departments, which are part of the HHS. 

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, travel to or from the state will be limited to only “essential business activity,” including educational travel. 

This was a “necessary precaution” that will be followed by other states, such as New Jersey, New York, and Illinois, as well as the District of Columbia. 

New York Gov.

Andrew Cuomo issued a similar travel ban last month, but Pennsylvania’s is more limited and requires the state to apply to HHS for permission to extend its Medicaid program. 


Wolf, who is expected to sign the new travel restrictions order on Wednesday, has been a vocal critic of the ACA. 

“The Affordable Care Exchange (ACA) is an overreach of the federal government, and it is unconstitutional and unworkable,” Wolf said in a statement.

“The state has a right to limit federal funds for public schools, and I applaud the governor for stepping forward to do so.” 

The new Pennsylvania order is likely to be a blow to the Governor’s effort to expand the Medicaid program for the unemployed, many of whom have been displaced by the recession. 

 “This is really a blow against him and for the ACA,” said Bill O’Neil, the co-founder of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Health Care Reform, a nonprofit group. 

Governor Wolf has been in office since 2014. 

He had sought to extend the Medicaid expansion, but the governor and Republican leaders in the legislature blocked the plan, claiming it was not a “plan.” 

As governor, Wolf has also faced criticism for using the Pennsylvania Medicaid expansion as a political wedge issue, and for his support for Republican-led efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, a group that provides reproductive health services to low-income women. 

Despite the attacks, Wolf said on Sunday that he would not rescind the new Pennsylvania restrictions. 

As a result, the Governor issued an executive order last week that limited his use of the Medicaid funds. 

State law requires that any spending that goes into the state budget must be used for a “specific purpose” for which the state can obtain funding. 

Wolf said he would also work with lawmakers to address the challenges of providing healthcare to people with chronic diseases, such a cancer or diabetes, and “protect our citizens from dangerous and deadly diseases.”