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.