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Showing posts from February, 2010

Sign Our Petition

Cross posted on the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.

Did you know that approximately 46 percent of workers in the Pennsylvania and 44 percent in Philadelphia do not have paid sick days?

If you believe all Pennsylvania workers should have the chance to earn paid sick days so they can care for themselves as well as their sick children and parents, please sign our petition. The petition will be delivered to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and, if you live in Philadelphia, also to City Council – both of which are currently working on legislation to provide workers with this benefit.

New Proposal Rolls Back Reproductive Rights

All of the health care proposals and bills can do amazing things to reform the current system and allow more individuals to have affordable coverage. The question is, why does this have to occur at the expense of women’s reproductive rights?

Last year, the House passed a health care bill that included the Stupak Amendment, which banned abortion coverage in any plan in the national exchange that has even one policy holder receiving a federal subsidy. Abortion coverage would only be available if a woman purchased a rider on her basic insurance policy.

Following passage of the House bill, the Senate passed a bill that allowed states to decide whether to prohibit abortion coverage in the state insurance exchanges. It also called for insurers to segregate funds for abortion coverage, requiring women to write two separate checks: one for abortion coverage and one for everything else. A recent proposal from the President works from the Senate bill and does not remove the restrictive aborti…

Latest Health Care Proposal

Earlier this week, President Obama released a new proposal for health care reform leading up to the White House Summit on Health Reform. The proposal is largely based on the bill that passed the Senate, with some offered some modifications. The President’s proposal:
Does not contain a public option or a national exchange Would cover 31 million of the current 45 million uninsured people in our country Includes an excise tax on generous health insurance plans (those that cost $27,500 or more for a family plan). The Senate version began the tax at $23,000. Would raise Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or $29,326.50 for a family of four. Includes strong new provisions for federal oversight of insurance premium increases and help to states in enforcing and monitoring insurance markets. Provides immediate assistance to beneficiaries who hit the Medicare donut hole in 2010 and close the hole completely by 2020 Strikes a compromise between the House and Sen…

Please Join Us at the Public Forum on Earned Sick Time

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The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces invites you to our
Public Forum on Earned Sick Time March 10, 2010 - 10 AM to 12 PM Central Branch of the Free Library, Skyline Room 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia PA
Join us to learn more about earned sick time from:

-Legislators
-Affected workers
-Supportive employers
-Physicians

The event will also include polling data and information on earned sick time from The National Partnership for Women and Families!

To sign up for this event, please visit http://earnedsicktime1.eventbrite.com!You can also email your RSVP to policy@pathwayspa.org or call Kate Scully at 610-543-5022 x255.

If you have been affected by the need for sick time or are a business owner who offers sick time and would like to speak at this event, please call or email us as well!

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is a group of organizations supporting the need for earned sick time in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Primary organizers of this event include P…

PathWays PA New Publication: Keeping it Real – Teen Finances

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PathWays PA is excited to announce the completion of a new handbook for managing money written specifically for teens: Keeping it Real: Teen Finances.

This guide discusses what teens should understand about their finances, and assists them in planning for their future.

The guide focuses on such areas as understanding your paycheck, budgeting, banking, financial contracts, credit, and insurance. It also includes goal setting, finding a job, education, child care, and housing.

You can view a copy of this publication, along with others, on PathWays PA’s website.

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - February 24, 2010

State Budget Update

Two weeks ago, Governor Rendell announced his budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year calling for overall spending of $26.3 billion.

The Appropriation Committees of the General Assembly are currently holding hearings where each department is testifying on their specific budget proposals. The House is scheduled to have their hearings completed by February 25th and the Senate will continue to hear from the departments until March 3rd.

You can see a list of the hearings for the House and Senate online.


Philadelphia Budget Update

While Philadelphians brace for another potential snowstorm, the city has already spent about $15 million on snow removal. This cost only adds to the city’s deficit, which is estimated at $150 million (least years deficit was $257 million). The Governor has said he will apply for federal aid to help Philadelphia and other parts of the state with the unexpectedly high costs of numerous storms.

Mayor Nutter is scheduled to give his budget add…

Virtual March for Health Care Reform

To show the need for health care reform, starting on February 17th individuals have been marching the 135 miles from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC. On February 24th, the marchers will arrive in DC.

If you are not able to join the march in person MoveOn.org has set up a virtual march. If you want to be involved, just include your name, email, and zip code and you too can be part of this historic moment.

To follow the progress of the marchers visit March to the Finish Line for Melanie.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: February 22, 2010

Federal

Proposed Cuts to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, is a program sponsored by the IRS to help low- and middle-income people file their income tax returns. Through the program, community partners engage and train volunteers and set up sites where clients can come to have their basic returns completed. VITA was created especially to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable credit that means big returns for the low and middle-income filers.

Earlier this month the President released his proposed budget for FY2011 and it includes a decrease in funding for the VITA Grant Program. Working families need increased access to safe financial resources.

Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to fund this important program.


February 23: Call-in Day to Save Jobs and Protect the Jobless

At the end of this month, the federal program providing unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire. If Con…

Working with H1N1

Cross posted on the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.

During the H1N1 pandemic, workers were urged to stay home if they were sick. However, those without paid sick time often had no choice. These workers had to choose between going to work sick or losing their pay and possibly their jobs. In a recent report, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has found that many workers were forced to go to work sick and that their lack of having paid sick days likely extended the duration of the outbreak.

Looking at information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IWPR found that almost 26 million working Americans were infected with H1N1 in the fall of 2009. Of that 26 million, only 18 million took some time off work, meaning that 8 million Americans went to work with H1N1 despite urging from the CDC and the White House to stay home if sick.

As a result, IWPR estimates that 7 million co-workers were infec…

How Healthy is Your County?

For the first time, that question can be answered in every county in the US. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute have put together the 2010 County Health Rankings, a collection of 50 reports that reflect the overall health of counties in every state.

The study looks at the health outcomes and health factors of each county. Health outcomes represent how healthy a county is, based on measures of mortality and morbidity. Health factors are what influences the health of the county, including health behaviors, clinical care, and social, economic, and physical environment factors.

In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia ranked the lowest, 67th, while Chester County was number 1, making it the healthiest county in Pennsylvania according to the study.

While this report shows where counties may be able to improve their services and health outcomes, it also shows that everywhere people need better access to health care. Even in Chester County, w…

Text4Baby

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Pregnant women and new mothers have a new way to get health information – a nationwide free text message service. This service, called “Text4Baby,” grew from a coalition of mobile service providers, health professionals, and government agencies. Mothers will receive text messages timed to where they are in their pregnancy or the baby’s age up to the baby’s first year.


Topics covered in the text messages include seasonal flu prevention, nutrition, prenatal care, oral health, smoking prevention, immunization schedules, and safe sleep. Mothers will get no more than three text messages per week. Messages can also connect mothers to clinics and support services for prenatal care.


You can sign up for messages by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish messages) to 511411. To learn more, please visit text4baby.org.


image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonjon_2k8/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - 17 February 2010

Budget Update

Last week, Governor Rendell announced his budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The deficit for the fiscal year is $525 million, compared to the $2 billion deficit last year.

The Governor's office also announced last week that some line items put into budgetary reserve in January 2010 would be released for spending. These line items total $32.7 million in funding for programs including spending for:

The Department of Agriculture: $2.05 million in total spending released, covering items such as farm safety, food marketing and research, and crop insurance The Department of Public Welfare: $10 million in total spending released, including $4.2 million for acute care and $2.7 million for Healthcare Clinics. Some programs which had a 20 percent budget cut under the freeze (such as hospital based burn centers and Medical Assistance line items for Obstetrics and Neonatal care) had 10 percentage points of their budget restored. The Department of Education: $4.5 million…

Some 2009-2010 Budget Line Items Unfrozen

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Although the Governor has already released his new budget for FY 2010-2011, work continues to be done on the FY 2009-2010 version. Last week, the Governor's office announced that some line items put into budgetary reserve in January 2010 would be released for spending. These line items total $32.7 million in funding for programs including:
Public Television: $500,000 of the $1 million line item was put into reserve (aka "frozen"). $900,000 is now available.Minority Business Development: $900,000 unfrozenDepartment of Agriculture: $2.05 million in total spending released, covering items such as farm safety, food marketing and research, and crop insuranceDepartment of Public Welfare: $10 million in total spending released, including $4.2 million for acute care and $2.7 million for Healthcare Clinics. Some programs which had a 20 percent budget cut under the freeze (such as hospital based burn centers and Medical Assistance line items for Obstetrics and Neonatal care) ha…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - 15 February 2010

As the Pennsylvania State Budget process continues, be sure to keep an eye out for PathWays PA's weekly Budget Alerts and budget updates on our blog.

Budget

Complete the United Way of PA Survey on Impact of Budget Cuts and Impasse

United Way of Pennsylvania has released a new survey to measure the long-term impact of Pennsylvania’s 2009 Budget Impasse and continued funding cuts on nonprofit organizations.

They need everyone’s help to document the impact to make the case that funding health and human services is vital. The 2010 state budget negotiations ahead are expected to be extremely difficult. State revenues are well below what was projected only a few months ago, and the legislature is showing little interest for expanding current revenue sources or increasing taxes to maintain funding levels for nonprofit services.

Please complete this important yet brief survey and share it with the organizations in your network.

Federal

Ask Congress to Extend Benefits for the Unemployed

On Februa…

March Toward the Finish Line on Healthcare Reform

In Pennsylvania alone, 1.3 million people do not have health care. With limitations on coverage due to pre-existing conditions and/or high costs, families are unable to obtain or afford coverage. Reform is necessary to ensure a physically and financially healthy future for America.

To show the need for healthcare, from February 17th through February 24th, individuals will be marching from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

While a group will march the entire 133 miles, organizers are inviting everyone to join for as long as they are able to. Many will begin the march with the core group leaving Philadelphia on the 17th and rejoin them in Washington on the 24th. If you want to spend just a day or two marching in Delaware or Maryland, there will be arranged vans and car pools.

To RSVP and for more information, please contact Marc Stier.

To kick off the march on February 17th there will be a rally at noon in Philadelphia (the exact location is yet to be determined).

Some Budget Materials of Interest

Here is some "light" budget reading for your weekend:

Overview of the Proposed Budget from the House Democratic Committee on AppropriationsLine Items in the Proposed BudgetPowerPoint Presentation from the Health and Human Services Budget Briefing

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert - February 10, 2010

Budget Update

Yesterday, Governor Rendell announced his budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The deficit for the fiscal year is $525 million (there was a $2 billion deficit last year).

In the FY 2010-2011 budget, the Governor is calling for overall spending of $26.3 billion. His budget maintains cuts from last year and does not create any new programs. The Governor also stated his commitment to having a budget signed by the constitutionally mandated deadline of June 30th - unlike last year's budget, which was passed 101 days late.

Under the proposal:

Adult and Family Literacy will receive funding of $17,510,000 (which matches their current funding under the budget freeze)Child Care Assistance will receive $198,682,000 in funding (an increase of $535,000)Children's Health Insurance will receive $100,375,000 in funding (an increase of $3,263,000, enough to cover approximately 10,300 more children)Community Colleges will receive $214, 217,000 (level funding from the pre…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: February 8, 2010

As the Pennsylvania State Budget process kicks off this week, be sure to keep an eye out for PathWays PA’s weekly Budget Alerts.


PathWays PA Publications Survey

In order to enhance our work we have put together a short survey for individuals who have received any of PathWays PA’s publications. Your response would be greatly appreciated! Please click here to be taken to the short survey.

If you are interested in learning more about PathWays PA’s publications, you can access them online by clicking here.


Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA

PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.
Philadelphia

PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadel…

Super Bowl Ads Include Talking Babies, Famous Celebrities, and Coming Soon: Anti-Choice Messages

Many watch the Super Bowl not just for the game, but for the commercials. In the past, broadcasting companies have held fast to a policy of not accepting ads they deem contentious. Citing this policy, ads from organizations such as MoveOn.org and the United Church of Christ were found to be too controversial to be aired.

This Super Bowl, CBS has approved the airing of an anti-choice ad featuring Tim Tebow, the quarterback for the University of Florida’s football team, and his mother discussing her choice not to have an abortion. Ms. Tebow made a difficult decision regarding a pregnancy which threatened her life, a decision which many must make every day. But in reality, the important part of her decision is not the choice she made, but that she had a choice. Just as no doctor should have had the right to force her to terminate her pregnancy because of its risk, no doctor should have the right to force a woman to continue a pregnancy under any circumstances. Ms. Tebow was able …

Sign Up For Our Weekly Policy Enewsletter

As this year's Pennsylvania budget gets ready for kick-off, it is the perfect time to sign up for our free policy e-newsletter and weekly budget alerts!


Sign up for our Policy E-Newsletter





PathWays PA Letter to the Editor: Enhance Women’s Choice, Do Not Limit It

To the Editor:

When it comes to buying insurance, women do not plan for an unintended or complicated pregnancy any more than men plan for unexpected medical complications or issues. Yet under current health reform plans, men will be able to receive treatment specific to their health needs, while women may not have access to an abortion that can save their health and their lives.

By banning abortion coverage or requiring women to write two checks (one for abortion coverage and one for the rest of their health insurance), the Stupak and Nelson Amendments create an unworkable situation for insurance companies and a burdensome situation for women. The health care debate should focus on how we can support women's health and well-being by expanding access, not by prohibiting women from undergoing a lawful procedure.

Current proposals will thankfully end gender rating and prevent insurance companies from classifying pregnancy or domestic violence as pre-existing conditions. We hope legislat…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - 1 February 2010

As the Pennsylvania State Budget process kicks off next week, be sure to keep an eye out for PathWays PA's weekly Budget Alerts starting next Wednesday.

PathWays PA Publication Survey

In order to enhance our publications, we have put together a short survey for individuals who have received any of PathWays PA's materials in the past two years. Your response would be greatly appreciated!

If you are interested in learning more about PathWays PA's publications, you can access them online at our website.

Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA

PathWays PA's basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment. You must schedule an appointment to have your taxes prepa…