State won’t overhaul Medicaid transportation program following study

Kate Giammarise | Monday, January 6, 2020, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

State officials will not award a statewide brokerage contract and will continue to study how to best administer an assistance program that aids low-income Pennsylvanians who need non-emergency medical transportation, at least in the short-term.

What would have been a potentially sweeping change was halted last year after state legislators, advocates, and local county officials raised concerns and said the issue needed further study before a contract was awarded.

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Groups go to court to try to keep Pa.’s cash assistance for state’s poorest residents from ending on Aug. 1

Jan Murphy | Tuesday, July 23, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

Organizations that assist poor and disabled individuals have turned to the courts to try to salvage the state’s cash assistance program scheduled to end next week.

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and the Disability Rights Pennsylvania filed paperwork in Commonwealth Court on Monday asking for a preliminary injunction to keep the program alive for the 11,844 poor and disabled people who came to depend on it.

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Flat Medicaid rates concern Pennsylvania nursing homes

Nicole C. Brambila | Thursday, March 7, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

A group that represents about 500 nursing home operators across Pennsylvania expressed concerns about Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget for next fiscal year, saying flat funding threatens the state’s rapidly aging population.

The Medicaid reimbursement rate for Pennsylvania nursing home residents has increased less than $9 a day since July 1, 2010, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. Wolf’s proposed budget does not include a rate increase.

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Should pharmacists be prevented from telling customers the true cost of their medications?

Steve Twedt | Monday, June 11, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Long-standing tensions have ratcheted up between independent pharmacists and the pharmacy benefit managers such as Express Scripts and CVS Caremark who process prescription drug claims — and state legislators are taking notice.

Two Republican lawmakers have introduced separate bills — the most recent one filed Wednesday — each addressing a separate issue regarding how benefit managers operate in Pennsylvania.

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Unemployed Pennsylvanians on Medicaid could lose health coverage under proposed bill

Natasha Lindstrom | Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The state House on Tuesday advanced a bill that would force “able-bodied” adults enrolled in Medicaid to work at least 20 hours a week or complete job training programs to retain their health insurance coverage.

The proposed legislation — House Bill 2138 — cleared the House floor on a 115-80 vote. All but five Republicans and just four Democrats voted to send it to the state Senate.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf touts the choices under new long-term care initiative

Gary Rotstein | Thursday, December 7, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Gov. Tom Wolf says he believes all Pennsylvanians in their later years should have the ability to continue living at home like his 94-year-old mother, even if they become frail and develop disabilities.

In touting his Community HealthChoices initiative in Lawrenceville Thursday, he mentioned his mother’s options late in life as an example of what the program is intended to provide starting Jan. 1 for those older or disabled adults who rely on government-subsidized health and long-term care services.

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Gov. Wolf will veto controversial Medicaid work requirement bill

Kate Giammarise | Thursday, October 5, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Gov. Tom Wolf will veto a budget-related bill passed by the Republican-controlled state House and Senate that would have required the administration to include a work-search requirement in the Medicaid program and could have limited certain Medicaid benefits.

Mr. Wolf, a Democrat, had said for months that he was opposed to the changes, but it wasn’t clear if he might go along with them as part of a larger budget agreement with the Legislature, or because they were included in a large omnibus bill with other human services provisions.

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Pa. Senate approves plan to close $2.2B budget hole

Michael Rubinkam | Thursday, July 27, 2017, Associated Press

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Senate on Thursday approved a plan to eliminate a $2.2 billion budget deficit that includes heavy borrowing and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases, including on Marcellus Shale gas drilling, consumers’ utility bills and online purchases.

Floor votes came barely 14 hours after Republicans who control the chamber first unveiled their plan to balance the $32 billion state budget late Wednesday. It includes a proposal to borrow $1.3 billion against Pennsylvania’s annual share of the 1998 multistate settlement with tobacco companies, an approach rejected by their GOP counterparts in the House just last week. States typically borrow to prop up current spending only as a last resort.

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