Pennsylvania Health Access Network Rallies at Capitol

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network held a rally in the East Wing of the Capitol Building today to call on Gov. Tom Corbett to accept Medicaid expansion.

 Health advocates, physicians and consumers gathered to express their concerns of the governor's Healthy PA proposal, contending that it cuts benefits for current Medicaid enrollees. PHAN also contended that seniors, people with disabilities, and pregnant women will lose important services under Healthy PA.

Monday, April 7, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: Event Central
Child Advocacy Center Funding, Abuse Report Database Bills Become Law While More Work Remains on Child Protection Recommendations

Child Advocacy Center Funding, Abuse Report Database Bills Become Law While More Work Remains on Child Protection Recommendations

Three bills stemming from the report of the Task Force on Child Protection were signed into law this morning by Gov. Tom Corbett.

House Bill 89 and House Bill 316 would create a funding stream for Child Advocacy Centers. Senate Bill 24 would create a statewide database for the collection of reports of suspected child abuse from mandated reporters.

“Today we send a strong message to all, that children in Pennsylvania will be protected, and that protection is everyone's responsibility,” said Bev Mackereth, Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare and member or the Task Force on Child Protection.

“We clearly need to punish those who victimize our children,” said Gov. Corbett. “But we also need to heal the children and to break that cycle of victimization.”

Gov. Corbett detailed how the needs and methods of protecting children have changed since his career began.

“A child advocacy center back then would have been a great help. We all know that. But, thankfully, they will be a great help in the days ahead for a new generation of young people,” Gov. Corbett said. “These centers make prosecution possible, but just as importantly, they recognize that treatment and healing are equally important.”

Despite the signing of these three bills, two more bills encompassing recommendations from the task force remain on the legislative schedule and are anticipated to be voted on this week.

Monday, April 7, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

Act 47 Reform Legislation to Get House and Senate Action

Two bills reforming Act 47 will be subject of House and Senate action the second week of April.

Both House Bill 1773 by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) and Senate Bill 1157 by Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) were introduced following a Local Government Commission Task Force report detailing needed changes to the current law.

The bills were identical as introduced, but Rep. Ross’s bill has been amended as it moves through the legislative process.

Rep. Ross’s bill is ready for third consideration in the House as soon as Monday. Sen. Eichelberger’s bill will be the subject of a Senate Local Government Committee hearing on Thursday.

Rep. Ross noted the impetus behind the changes made in the bills is the fact that under Act 47 municipalities are not making the recommended difficult choices needed to get out of distressed status.

“They’re fiscally unstable, they continue to have problems with deterioration, the citizens really find they’re having trouble getting access to good services, and it really hampers economic growth,” Rep. Ross said. “It causes a series of problems.”

According to both Rep. Ross and Sen. Eichelberger, the biggest change both bills make is putting a five-year time limit on how long municipalities may stay under Act 47 distressed status. The status can be extended once for three years if certain criteria are met.

“This is going to force municipalities to make very difficult decisions up front,” Sen. Eichelberger said. “They’re going to have to come up with a plan and then execute it very quickly,” he explained of the effect of the changes.

Read more.

Friday, April 4, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

Hundreds to Converge on Capitol to Call on Corbett to Accept Medicaid Expansion

Hundreds of advocates from “Cover the Commonwealth” plan on packing the East Wing Rotunda Monday to call on Gov. Tom Corbett to accept Medicaid expansion wholesale instead of his Healthy PA proposal.
“Folks are coming because there is really a frustration about that state that we haven’t expanded Medicaid yet,” said Antoinette Kraus of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN). PHAN is expected to participate in the rally.
“We are 60 days past the January 1 implementation date where we could be drawing down federal funds and covering almost a half a million Pennsylvanians,” Kraus added.
She stated advocates also have issues with the governor’s Healthy PA proposal, contending it cuts Medicaid benefits. “We’re worried about the new limits that will be put on Medicaid beneficiaries,” she said.

Read more.

Friday, April 4, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views


Led by Democratic Gubernatorial hopeful Katie McGinty, a group of Democrats held a news conference Wednesday to call for a total ban on gifts to legislators.

“I’m here to call for an absolute, total, no asterisk, no footnote, gift ban,” McGinty stated.

She argued the current lack of government trust among the public requires current loopholes to be closed.

“What we are proposing here is not a radical new thought,” McGinty claimed. “Pennsylvania should join the 40 other states that essentially have an absolute gift ban.”

She noted any plan should leave no question as to what’s right or what’s wrong and give the public confidence again that state government is working for them.

She said any plan should include exemptions for gifts by friends and family and be aimed toward prohibiting gifts from those who have business before the state.

“People still have their personal lives. I’m not speaking here about their personal lives,” she said.

CLICK HERE to read the full story and when action can be expected from the House and Senate.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views