Op-Ed: Ten Random PA Policy Points For March

harrisburg

Often times when debating or discussing politics and policy, facts are tossed aside in favor of more emotional arguments. Even worse, when one side of a legitimate but spirited debate falters, it has somehow become acceptable to either refuse to accept the facts as accurate. Others strive to find flaws in an effort to have two wrongs make a right. By way of experimentation, here are ten totally unrelated facts about issues we deal with in Pennsylvania government. Let’s see what happens…

1. A new Families USA report estimates that expanding Medicaid would create about 41,200 new jobs and generate about $5.1 billion in new economic activity in PA by 2016.

2. The Jackson Hewitt Tax Firm has estimated it could cost employers $876 million to $1.3 billion each year if the 22 states that have opposed, are leaning against, or remain undecided about expanding Medicaid fail to expand the program.

3. According to PACHC, 70% of the 700,000 patients served by PA’s Community Health Centers are insured by Medicaid or are uninsured and 92% have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level. A recent study by George Washington University concluded that the health care system saved $1,263 annually for each person who had a Community Health Center as their medical home. As a result, these centers have saved more than $880 million annually in PA.

4. Each day, more than 15 people are killed and more than 1,200 people are injured in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver.

5. The Pew Charitable Trust estimates that 12 million American adults use payday loans annually. On average, a borrower takes out eight loans of $375 each per year and spends $520 on interest. The average borrower is indebted about five months of the year.

6. The Education Law Center has found that PA is one of only three states that do not have an education funding formula. The other 47 states use an accurate student count and different costs when calculating and distributing education dollars.

7. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, approximately 47% of employers say they pull credit reports on some or all job applicants. Federal law permits employers to pull job applicants’ credit reports and to use the information within them as grounds for not hiring someone.

8. According to the 2013 HHS Poverty Guidelines, an annual income of $19,090 would place a family of three at the poverty line. PA’s current minimum wage of $7.25 allows that same family to earn only $15,080, less than the HHS guidelines for a family of two. Currently, 19 states and DC have rates above the federal minimum of $7.25 with 8 states and DC above $8 and WA being the highest at $9.19.

9. A state task force reported that over $780 million in restitution has gone unpaid. In a recent 3-year period, PA courts imposed over $434 million in restitution, but victims only collected about $50 million. This discrepancy is due to about one-third of the defendants being jailed, defendant payments also going to fines and fees, high restitution amounts that skew the numbers, and small installment payment plans.

10. According to 2010 Census data, the share of workers 65 and older in the labor force increased to 16% from 12% in 1990.

16 comments

  • “Ten policy points from a politician with barely any constituency in Beaver County”

  • Corbett is a slimeball. No support from me for him.

    What is his reason for not supporting?

  • Didn’t Corbett promise to get rid of all the “company cars”That we pay for that these bums get to use for free.

  • The Medicare expansion is only supported by the Federal government for the first 3 years or so. Then the state has to pick up nearly all the expense. So its a Time Bomb. State taxes would go through the roof after the initial period covered by the Feds. The Feds don’t really have the money to cover that 3 years (that is why the US has to borrow money every year) so the future taxpayer will be on the hook for that portion too. Corbett is right to not take it. Once the state gets in , it can’t get out. Its a scam to expand government.

  • I thought that it was still covered at a large percentage like 95% after the first 3 yrs were over?

  • No. That is not right. First of all, Congress would have to Budget the money to pay for that. If they don’t , then someone else has to come up with the money as in the States. There is no requirement that Congress has to actually fund this. They could say “hey we don’t have the money, you pay for it ” . Even if they did pay for it, they would have to borrow the money. They don’t have it.

    • Jeff – Are you sure you don’t mean Medicaid?
      I am enrolled in Medicare and respectfully disagree with everything you said, as regards to Medicare. I’m not here to argue, but most of what you say is untrue for Medicaid also, as far
      as I have found. My sources are MEDICARE.GOV and MEDICAID.GOV. What are yours?

      • I googled Pennsylvania Portal Medicaid Fact sheet. It’s a PDF file referred to in a news release from the Office of the Governor (Tom Corbett) stored on the Department of Public Welfare web site (WWW.DPW.STATE.PA.US).

        I thought websites with .GOV suffixes belonged to the government, not the President? Such as, the U.S. Senate (WWW.SENATE.GOV), U.S. House of Representatives (www.house.gov), and many other government agencies. So, how are http://WWW.MEDICARE.GOV and http://WWW.MEDICAID.GOV controlled by President Obama? Am I right then to conclude that the Department of Public Welfare (PA) website is controlled by Governor Corbett?

        It’s my understanding that the federal government will pay 100% of costs for the first year and 90% yearly after for Medicaid. Whatever. It boils down to who you trust and/or believe. Considering Corbett’s performance on the state level, I’ll stick with the federal government.

  • The President’s Administration as the executive branch controls various departments and agencies of the Federal government. So yes, the administration of Medicare and Medicaid websites are run by executive branch appointees. The Senate is a separate branch of the government. Apples and oranges. Gov Corbett does control the state Dept of Public Welfare, but unlike Obama, Gov. Corbett has actually passed a budget every year. President Obama has been in office for 5 years now and has never passed a single budget, just a series of continuous spending bills. Along with those, he has had his failed stimulus spending bills. So Gov Corbett’s financial record far exceeds Obama’s when it comes to passing balanced budgets and controlling spending.

  • My original comment dealt with your statements on Medicaid/Medicare funding.
    After our several back-and-forth postings the subject has somehow moved to budgets.
    I don’t care to get into a long-winded debate therefore this will be my last and
    only comment on the budget subject.

    President Obama (approval rating – 48%) has not passed a budget because of House
    Republicans voting NO on everything and anything he supports. Governor Corbett
    (approval rating – 39%) holds a majority in both houses and passes budgets at will.
    Ask any teacher or state employee how they feel about Governor Corbett’s budgets.

    As I said before, considering Corbett’s (budget) performance on the state level, I’ll
    stick with the federal government (Obama’s budget).

    Finally, as my last word (I’m sure you will have one more), allow me to say it’s
    a privilege to live in a great country like the U.S.A. where we can agree to disagree.

    • Obama had a Democrat majority his first two years in office. He never passed a budget. He doesn’t even bother to introduce them. Having the ability to pass a budget ( a balanced one at that ) shows a level of competency in Corbett that Obama doesn’t have. We are talking about the ability to properly budget money and project costs for these programs, so it is very relevant to this issue.

  • The notion that expanding medicare will create economic activity ignores the fact that the cost of these expanded services will all be at the expense of the private sector. Government does not create any jobs nor wealth without first taking it from the private sector. The more government grows, the less the real economy does. Governments are notoriously inefficient and deliver a small fraction of the revenues it collects in actual services, the majority is consumed by the bureaucracy itself. The more money left in the rea :dizzy: l economy, the more prosperity there will be and the less we will need expanded governmental services, but then we wouldn’t have an underclass to blindly elect their masters.