Young Philly Politics - health care en Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>There is growing bipartisan agreement that the optional expansion of Medicaid provided by the Affordable Care Act is too good an opportunity to pass up.</p> <p>This month, the Governors of Arizona and North Dakota, both Republicans, announced their intention to opt-in to the Medicaid expansion, joining their counterparts in Nevada and New Mexico. To date, 14 states have decided to expand Medicaid in 2014, and another seven are leaning toward expansion. Pennsylvania remains among the 21 undecided states.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Support for Medicaid Expansion Growing" /></p> <p>Here’s what Arizona Governor Jan Brewer <a href="" target="_blank">had to say</a> about Medicaid:</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Affordable Care Act health care Medicaid Pennsylvania Republicans Tue, 29 Jan 2013 18:25:35 +0000 8566 at Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind <p><strong>By Michael Wood, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>Federal health care reform is moving forward thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year — and it is a <a href=";id=3801" target="_blank">great deal</a> for Pennsylvania. Unless the state decides to “opt out,” Medicaid coverage will be expanded to include many Pennsylvanians who are uninsured.</p> <p>One group that will benefit immediately are parents with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three). The benefits don’t end there: others who don’t receive health coverage through their work will be able to buy insurance on a competitive health marketplace or exchange — making coverage more affordable.</p> <p>However, if Governor Corbett prevents the Medicaid expansion, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty, as the chart below shows (click on it for a larger view).</p> <p><a title="Click to enlarge" href=""><img src="" /></a></p> <p>Those families&nbsp;between 46% and 100% of poverty&nbsp;earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (for a family of three, this means earning over $8,781 but less than the federal poverty line of $19,090). <strong>These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t receive subsidies to buy health coverage.</strong></p> <p>We all benefit when more people have health coverage. Let’s make the right decision in Pennsylvania and expand Medicaid coverage.</p> Affordable Care Act health care Low-income Families Medicaid Pennsylvania Poverty Tue, 15 Jan 2013 14:57:05 +0000 8563 at Will Pennsylvania Take Full Advantage of Health Reform? <p><strong>By Chris Lilienthal, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>With the election decided, it is now clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. That’s great news for Pennsylvanians, some of whom have already begun to benefit from the health reform law, and many others who will see more gains as major provisions take effect in 2014.</p> <p>As Judy Solomon <a href="" target="_blank">writes</a> at the Off the Charts Blog, a key provision of the law will allow states to expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults earning up to 133% of the poverty line, with the federal government <a href=";id=3801" target="_blank">covering most of the costs</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>The question now is whether some states will squander this opportunity to cover millions of uninsured Americans.<br /><br />Coverage for more than 11 million poor, uninsured adults is at risk if states don’t expand Medicaid, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the Urban Institute</a>.<br /><br /><img src="" alt="Status of Health Reform Medicaid Expansion" width="451" height="376" /></p> </blockquote> <p>As you can see in the chart above, Pennsylvania is among the states that have not made a clear decision on the Medicaid expansion.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Affordable Care Act health care Medicaid Pennsylvania Fri, 09 Nov 2012 18:58:33 +0000 8547 at Uncompensated Care Costs Rise at PA Hospitals <p><strong>By Chris Lilienthal, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>More than a year ago, the Corbett administration decided to end the state's adultBasic program, which provided affordable health insurance to about 40,000 low-income Pennsylvanians who were unable to obtain coverage from an employer or through other programs.</p> <p>We worried at the time that many of those newly uninsured&nbsp;would delay treatments until a health condition snowballed into a more serious and costly problem, sending more people to the emergency rooms of our community hospitals.</p> <p>The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council released <a href="" target="_blank">a report</a> this week showing that uncompensated care costs at hospitals did in fact rise in the 2010-11 fiscal year, when adultBasic ended. Uncompensated care totaled $990 million — an 11% increase over the prior year.</p> <p>Dave Wenner at the <em>Harrisburg Patriot-News</em> <a href="" target="_blank">has more</a>:&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> adultBasic economy health care hospitals Pennsylvania Mon, 21 May 2012 14:30:47 +0000 8399 at Let the Games Begin: PA Senate Announces Details of Budget Proposal <p><img style="float: right; margin-left: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="200" height="135" /></p> <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>Action on the state budget began in earnest Monday with state Senator Jake Corman, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, releasing important details on the Senate budget plan that will be advanced this week.<br /><br />The proposal would increase Governor Tom Corbett's budget proposal by $500 million, with total spending rising from $27.15 billion to $27.65 billion for 2012-13. The Senate plan rejects $191 million in fund transfers and new revenue and proposes new spending cuts of $165 million. Those spending reductions were not yet detailed.</p> <p>According to a <a href="" target="_blank"> report</a>&nbsp;(subscription required), the Senate budget plan:</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Education health care Higher Education Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Budget Public Welfare State Budgets Taxes Tue, 08 May 2012 16:37:41 +0000 8388 at Nowhere to Go, More Addicts on the Street and a Ringing Irony <p><em>Based on blog posts by Chris Lilienthal originally published <a href="">here</a> and <a href="">here</a> at Third and State.</em></p> <p><em>The Philadelphia Inquirer</em> reports this morning on the impact of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's proposed budget cuts on the lives of people in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Who is getting hit? Adults with disabilities, the homeless, people with mental-health illnesses, HIV patients needing hospice care, children aging out of foster care, and seniors, among others.</p> <p>Miriam Hill, <em>The Philadelphia Inquirer</em> — <a href="" target="_blank">People who will be affected by Corbett's cuts</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>Brittany Stevens doesn't talk a lot, but she's a bit of a social butterfly. She was a prom queen and, after a recent performance of the musical Fela!, she spontaneously hugged the dancers, nearly tackling them in excitement.<br /><br />But Brittany, 21, who is disabled and suffers from seizures, incontinence, hearing loss, and other problems, spends most of her days alone in her North Philadelphia home, while her mother, Harlena Morton, goes to work as a high-school counselor.<br /><br />Morton had hoped to find Brittany a job in a workshop that employs disabled adults. Now that Gov. Corbett has proposed large cuts to social services programs, Morton fears that Brittany and thousands like her will never get off waiting lists for those spots and for other services...<br /><br />In Philadelphia, the cuts total about $120 million, not including reductions in medical care, city officials say; across Pennsylvania, $317 million, according to state officials.</p> </blockquote><p><a href="">read more</a></p> Addiction Children Disabilities health care Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Budget Public Welfare Tom Corbett Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:35:49 +0000 8356 at The Return of Bigfoot: Telling the Truth about Welfare Spending in Pennsylvania <p><em>A blog post by Sharon Ward, originally published at <a href="">Third and State</a>.</em></p> <p><img style="float: right; margin-left: 10px;" src="" alt="Bigfoot" width="237" height="250" />You may remember that the Commonwealth Foundation <a href="" target="_blank">put out a report</a> about welfare spending a couple of weeks ago that we likened to “Bigfoot” because it found something in the Department of Public Welfare — massive fraud, millions of non-working adults — that just didn’t exist.<br /><br />I had a chance to debate Matt Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation on <a href="" target="_blank">WITF’s Radio Smart Talk</a>, and I thought it might be a good time to share the facts and give you my four big ideas about how we push back on the destructive framing that the “Bigfoot” report perpetuates.</p> <p>First, let me give a shout out to the people who called in to Smart Talk to set the record straight on welfare spending and challenge Matt directly on his use of the welfare frame. It was clear to the listeners that Matt was quite deliberately trying to invoke the image of Ronald Reagan’s welfare queen by describing welfare as everything from afterschool programs to autism services. The audience wasn’t buying it and we shouldn’t allow it.</p> <p>The first step&nbsp; when talking about this issue, is to define welfare accurately.</p> <p><strong>1. Welfare is cash assistance.</strong></p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Child Care Children Disabilities health care Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Budget Public Welfare Thu, 22 Mar 2012 17:10:06 +0000 8352 at The Future of Health and Human Services in PA <p>Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, was on WITF's Radio Smart Talk this week to discuss the state of health and human services in Pennsylvania. She squared off with Matt Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation.</p> <p>She explained that it was important for the commonwealth to spend taxpayer money wisely, but that current policies were resulting in eligible Pennsylvanians, including thousands of children, losing their health care.</p> <p>Rather than taking away health care from children or jeopardizing the nursing care of seniors, state policymakers should look at alternatives, including closing tax loopholes and ending corporate welfare.</p> <p>You can listen to the show at <a href="" target="_blank">WITF's web site</a>. Let us know what you think in the comments section.</p> health care Human Services Pennsylvania Poverty Public Welfare Thu, 15 Mar 2012 15:01:03 +0000 pennbpc 8347 at Governor's Budget Moves PA in Wrong Direction <p>Governor Tom Corbett delivered his 2012-13 budget address to a joint session of the state Legislature today. We are still working on our budget analysis at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Check <a href="" target="_blank">our web site</a> later Tuesday evening.</p> <p>In the meantime, check out Sharon Ward's op-ed below on the Governor's budget originally published in the <a href=",0,7857477.story" target="_blank"><em>Allentown Morning Call</em></a>.<strong></strong></p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> economy Education health care Higher Education Innovation jobs Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Budget Tom Corbett Wed, 08 Feb 2012 00:15:33 +0000 pennbpc 8316 at Must Reads: Where Is the Shared Sacrifice? <p><em>A blog post by Mark Price, originally published at <a href="">Third and State</a>.</em></p> <p>When the economy is as weak as it is today, the prudent approach to the state budget is a balanced approach that looks to cut spending and raise additional revenue. A <em>Patriot-News</em> editorial this morning points out that nonprofit groups providing services to victims of domestic violence and rape, as well as people with severe health problems, have been particularly hard hit by the last several years of budget cutting.</p> <ul> <li><em>Patriot-News</em> Editorial Board — <a href="" target="_blank">State budget cuts harm people with real needs</a>:</li> </ul> <blockquote><p>The last couple of years, especially 2011, have been tough ones because of state funding cuts, and this year might not be much better. As lawmakers and the governor look at another difficult budget — introduced in February — they need to think hard about what further reductions in funding to charitable groups will mean in communities across the state...<br /><br />Some of the testimonials in the latest survey [by the United Way] show the grim reality for many people seeking help:<br /><br />A shelter director said, “For the second year in a row, our shelter has turned away more battered women and their children than we were able to house, due to lack of beds.”<br /><br />“We are unable to provide health center services as we were before. A nurse is only at the center 16 hours per week vs. 40 hours,” one service stated.<br /><br />“We’ve had to tell people wanting to get their GED that they had to seek services elsewhere,” a provider said.<br /><br />“Ms. Smith has ALS and needs a device to be able to communicate in her last days. However, she is on a waiting list to borrow the equipment she needs,” added another.</p> </blockquote><p><a href="">read more</a></p> Autism Disabilities health care Marcellus Shale Mental Health Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Budget Poverty Public Welfare Wed, 11 Jan 2012 17:59:13 +0000 8289 at