Health Care

Third and State This Week: School Funding Cuts, Medicaid Expansion Good for Veterans & Drilling Fee Fails to Keep Up

This week at Third and State, we set the record straight about state education funding cuts and how Pennsylvania's drilling impact fee is failing to keep pace with growth in natural gas production. We also wrote about growing momentum to delay a corporate tax cut and the tens of thousands of uninsured veterans who would benefit from expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On education, Chris Lilienthal blogged that nearly 85% of the cuts to public school classrooms enacted in the past two years remain intact in the state budget plan before the Legislature.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about news the state Senate plans to vote next week on expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for uninsured veterans.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged about a new report showing that a modest natural gas severance tax would raise twice as much revenue as Pennsylvania's local impact fee and do a better job keeping up with expected growth in natural gas production.
  • And on state budget and taxes, we highlighted recent news stories showing that momentum is building in Harrisburg to delay a tax cut for corporations next year in order to restore funding to public schools and other budget priorities.

IN OTHER NEWS:

PA Senate to Vote on Medicaid Expansion

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning that the state Senate plans to vote next week on a federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Third and State This Week: Payday Lending Debt Trap, Medicaid Rally, Pensions, State Budget, and More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the payday lending debt trap, a big rally at the Capitol in support of expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania, 10 reasons Governor Corbett's pension plan will cost taxpayers more, the latest with the state budget, Pennsylvania's housing market, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a Senate bill that will open the door to payday lenders to come to Pennsylvania and charge triple-digit annual interest rates on short-term loans.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a Capitol rally that brought out hundreds of people from across Pennsylvania to put some faces (and stories) to the ongoing debate over expanding Medicaid coverage in Harrisburg.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about superintendents from cuts-ravaged urban school districts coming to town to press for more education funding, among other happenings in the Capitol this week.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg shared the Keystone Research Center's top 10 reasons Governor Corbett's pension plan will dig a deeper hole for taxpayers.
  • On housing, Mark Price shared some charts on the Pennsylvania housing market.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Congratulations to the honorees of the 2013 Keystone Research Center Annual Awards Dinner: Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees, who received the Sol Hoffman Award, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, which received the Susan C. Eaton Award.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's media statement on the House passage of a 2013-14 budget bill and get the latest budget news here.
  • Read a fact sheet on the Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.
  • Read a memo to lawmakers from the Keystone Research Center on how transitioning new public employees to 401(k)-type retirement plans will cost taxpayers more. Read KRC's policy brief on how public pensions inject millions of dollars into local economies across Pennsylvania. Learn more about public pension reform here.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania with data on student enrollment, school funding and more.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

Lives Are on the Line in Medicaid Expansion Debate

Cover the Commonwealth: Lives on the Line RallyThis week, hundreds of people from across Pennsylvania took the Capitol by storm to put faces to the debate over expanding Medicaid health coverage in Pennsylvania.

The "Lives on the Line" rally featured a number of speakers who talked about the stress of working full-time without health insurance. One woman named Petrina has diabetes, but her employer doesn't offer health insurance. She had to fight back tears as she talked about the struggle to control her insulin. She is understandably terrified.

On Tap Today: Budget Vote, School Rally & Lives on the Line

Today is a busy day at the State Capitol. Superintendents from cuts-ravaged urban school districts are in town to press for more education funding. Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Allentown, and Reading, among others, are looking at a third year of deep cuts to student programs.

Third and State Recap: State Budget News, Payday Lending, Pensionomics, Education Funding & More

Over the past two weeks at Third and State, we blogged about the latest on the state budget and education funding, May's revenue report, and why policymakers must prioritize investments in Pennsylvania's future over new tax cuts. We also wrote about how public pensions inject millions into local economies and why payday lending, by any name, is still a debt trap.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward blogged about the state House Republicans' 2013-14 budget plan and shared a video of her appearance this week on the Pennsylvania Cable Network where she made the case for closing tax loopholes, delaying new tax cuts, and restoring funding to schools and human services in the next budget. Kate Atkins blogged about school district and county officials from across the state who came to Harrisburg this week with a message for state lawmakers: prioritize investments in our schools, county health services, and infrastructure over new tax cuts. And Michael Wood wrote that while General Fund revenues are ahead of estimates in May, this year’s revenue surplus is unlikely to reach the $232 million forecasted back in February.
  • On public pensions, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a Keystone Research Center report showing that pension benefits earned by retired teachers, first responders and public health workers inject millions of dollars into regional and local economies across Pennsylvania.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about Senate legislation that would legalize predatory payday loans with annual interest rates above 300%. Payday loans are described in the bill as "micro loans," but as Mark writes, payday lending, by any name, takes advantage of people in financial distress.
  • Finally, on education, we posted a video from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's May 28 webinar laying out the facts on state cuts to education in recent years.

IN OTHER NEWS:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Time is running out. Join the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Thursday, June 13 for our Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Harrisburg. Learn more and purchase tickets.
  • Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Tuesday, June 18 from 4 to 5 p.m. for a webinar highlighting the latest on the 2013-14 state budget. Learn more and register to participate.

Today's the Day

Today's the day. It's the start of our statewide call to action as lawmakers near the final stages of the state budget process. Hundreds of Pennsylvanians will call their state House Representative today or Tuesday to urge them to restore funding for schools and human services instead of making new tax cuts for businesses.

What You Need to Know About House Budget Plan

Pennsylvania House Republican leaders today introduced a 2013-14 budget that is $100 million less than what Governor Tom Corbett proposed in February. Overall, the $28.3 billion plan cuts $230 million in spending proposed by the Governor, shifting nearly $130 million of the savings to other budget priorities.

Third and State This Week: Costly Pensions Plan, a Tax Cut that Should Be Delayed, Pittsburgh’s Economy & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the problems with the Governor’s pension plan, how critical the expansion of Medicaid health coverage is for low-income working families in Pennsylvania, why the state should delay a planned corporate tax cut, and a new report on how Pittsburgh’s economy is doing better than other neighboring rust-belt cities.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg shared his Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed explaining that the Governor’s pension proposal will increase the state's pension debt and cost taxpayers more.
  • On health care, Jamar Thrasher blogged that if Pennsylvania rejects federal dollars to expand Medicaid, many of the state’s low-income working families will have nowhere to turn for health coverage.
  • With state budget action likely to pick up after Memorial Day, Chris Lilienthal blogged that policymakers should delay the planned phaseout of a corporate tax in order to preserve critical investments that make Pennsylvania a good place to live and do business.
  • On the economy, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a new study finding Pittsburgh's economy has fared better than neighboring rust-belt cities Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit.

IN OTHER NEWS:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Tuesday, May 28 from 4 to 5 p.m. for a webinar on education funding in Pennsylvania. Learn more and register to participate.
  • Join the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Thursday, June 13 for our Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Harrisburg. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Morning Must Read: A No to Expanding Medicaid Will Leave Many in PA Out in the Cold

Pennsylvania is not the only state undecided about whether to expand Medicaid health coverage to low-income working families. As The Washington Post reports

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the expansion, and 14 are planning to decline. But 16 [including Pennsylvania] remain in limbo as lawmakers clash in the final days and weeks of the legislative calendar, when many must come to a decision in time for the provision to kick in next year.

We have blogged (here and here) in recent weeks about reports showing how an expansion of Medicaid will benefit Pennsylvania residents both from an economic and public health standpoint.

One aspect of the debate that has not gotten as much attention is that an expanded Medicaid is the only option for many low-income working Pennsylvanians.

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