Monday, April 11, 2011

Pathways PA E-Newsletter: April 11, 2011

Federal Policy Update

HOUSE BUDGET PROPOSAL MAKES DRASTIC CHANGES TO MEDICAID & MEDICARE

The House Budget Committee passed a budget proposal this week for fiscal year 2012 that would make significant cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. The proposal would:
  •  Privatize Medicare, taking away seniors’ guaranteed benefits and replacing it with a voucher (fixed amount of money) to buy insurance on the private market.
  •  Raise the eligibility age for Medicare—from 65 to 67.
  •  Reopen and make permanent the “Donut Hole” gap in prescription drug coverage.
  •  Slash $1.43 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid
  •  Raise taxes on working families and small businesses by taking away new tax credits put in place by the Affordable Care Act
  •  Turn Medicaid into a fixed-amount block grant program and reduce federal Medicaid funding by 33%. This means that states would get a reduced yearly lump sum payment and when that money runs out, states would be forced to pick up the tab entirely or cut coverage and services to beneficiaries—mostly seniors, children and people with disabilities.
  •  Eliminate the planned Medicaid expansion set to take place in 2014 that will allow childless adults making up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (around $14,400) to get covered.
Click here to read a more detailed overview of the proposed changes on the PHAN Blog.

Here in Pennsylvania, we would lose $959.9 million in tax credits for working families to help make coverage affordable—just in 2014 alone. We would lose over $25 billion in federal funding to expand our Medicaid program between 2012 and 2021, and we will see over 914,000 more Pennsylvanians uninsured by 2021 as a result of this budget.

PHAN’s partners at Families USA have released a special report (“House Republicans Propose to Slash Funding For Medicaid, Medicare, and Other Health Coverage Programs”) detailing how much federal funding Pennsylvania would lose for Medicaid, Medicare and the new tax credits to make coverage affordable put in place by the new health care law. It also shows how many more people will be forced into the ranks of the uninsured in our state if this proposal moves forward.

Make a call to your Member of Congress today and let them know you oppose the Ryan Budget. Let PHAN know how it went by emailing egill@pahealthaccess.org.

Also please don't forget to join PHAN Tuesday night for our weekly policy call. They will give a brief update on the Federal Budget before Sharon Ward, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, talks about the state budget, tobacco settlement money and what it means for the continued fight for adultBasic.

To RSVP for the call and for more info click here.

The above information is provided by our allies at the PA Health Access Network.

USDA ACCEPTING COMMENTS ON PROPOSED SCHOOL LUNCH GUIDELINES

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning major improvements to the quality of the food offered in school breakfast and lunch – and it wants to hear from you. Through April 13, USDA will be accepting comments on its proposed rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Follow this link to find out how to submit comments.

This information provided by our friends at the Food Research and Action Center.

PRESIDENT OBAMA DECLARES APRIL AS FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH

The White House has declared April to be financial literacy. In a presidential proclamation, President Obama called upon Americans to boost their understanding of their personal finances in April. As America digs out from underneath the financial crisis of 2008, he stressed in the announcement that the need for a strong understanding of finance is more important than ever, as the nation works to get back on a sound fiscal foundation.

Now is a great time to spread the word about PathWays PA's Path$ to Benefits and Financial Path$ programs, which provide individuals and families with financial education and counseling resources. For more information about our programs, visit our PathWays Special Information section below.

This information provided by our friends at United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

State Policy Update

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP LEGISLATION

On Wednesday, April 6, 2011, the Pennsylvania Senate's Labor & Industry Committee passed SB 552 by a unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 552 codifies the Industry Partnership program into statute. To read more about Industry Partnerships, click here.

The bill was placed on the Senate (voting) Calendar for consideration by the full Senate. The bill could conceivably be moved to Third Consideration and be passed the week of April 11th or soon thereafter.

The e-mails and letters sent to Senate Labor Committee members asking for support were helpful in getting that unanimous vote. Now the PA Fund for Workforce Solutions is asking that everyone turn their attention to the remaining Senators to assure a unanimous vote by the entire body. To keep the momentum on SB 552 and assure its passage as quickly as possible, please continue your support efforts.
This information provided by our friends at The Pennsylvania Fund for Workforce Solutions.

TAKE ACTION TO ENSURE ADULT LITERACY PROGRAMS ARE FUNDED IN THE PROPOSED STATE BUDGET

With the Governor recommending a cut for adult and family literacy of 16.6%, and other education line items cut by 50% and more, please contact your senator and representative to ask for their support of these programs in the state budget. The message is: “Adult and family literacy is critical to the economic development of PA and the lives of your constituents.

Visit the Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education website for more information.

Information/Events

JOIN SENATOR HUGHES FOR A LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING ON THE PENNSYLVANIA BUDGET

State Senator Vincent Hughes will give a legislative briefing on the Pennsylvania budget. The visit will include:
  • Information Session
  • Budget Briefing
  • Q&A
  • Light Refreshments
All are welcome to attend.

Friday April 15th, 2:00 PM
Resources for Human Development Central Office- King Room
4700 Wissahickon Ave. Suite 126, Philadelphia PA 19144

Any questions can be directed to:
Ashley Johnson, Political Advocacy Intern
215-951-0300 ext. 3959

WEBINAR TUESDAY ON FEDERAL BUDGET PROPOSALS

Learn about the unprecedented slash and shift budget proposal coming to the U.S. House floor next week, and how it would affect your state, your neighbors, and you. Get an update on this year’s budget deal – or logjam - whether the federal government is shut down or not. Find out how you can join in a national effort to fight back.

Tuesday, April 12, Noon – 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

Presenters:
Robert Greenstein, President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and nationally known federal budget expert
MaryLou Beaver, State Campaigns Director, Every Child Matters/Every Child Matters New Hampshire Director

Moderator:
Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs, and veteran of numerous federal budget campaigns

To see House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal:

This information provided by the Coalition on Human Needs.

UPCOMING BUDGET EVENTS

As we brace ourselves for a House budget that is likely to slash human services, we need to speak out against the cuts- the only approach that puts all of us at risk.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition has five big events this season where numbers will matter. They are listed below, with links to RSVP.

If you are bringing numbers and would like a speaker from your organization, please let Kate Atkins at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center know ASAP.

Delaware County Press Conference about the Budget Cuts
Wed, April 13, 11:45 am, Delaware County Courthouse,
201 West Front Street Media, PA
RSVP to http://delcobudgetevent.eventbrite.com or call 215 563-5848 x 16.

Legislative Forum and Door-to-Door Canvassing
Saturday, April 16, Delaware County
USW Hall Local 10-234, 1520 Chichester Ave (& Palmer Dr.), Linwood, PA 19061

Join legislators and voters for a forum about the state budget and raising revenue in Pennsylvania. Canvass voters in nearby neighborhoods about a Fair Share budget that raises revenue by closing the corporate tax loopholes and taxes Marcellus Shale gas drilling! Reckless cuts that will hurt seniors, the middle class, and our children are not the solution!

11:00 am - Event Begins, coffee and bagel breakfast
12:15 pm - Canvass training packets distributed
12:45 pm - Begin canvass
4:00 pm - Canvassers return, Debrief group, collect postcards

MontCo Rally Against the Budget Cuts
Thurs, April 21 at 3PM
MontCo County Courthouse, 2 E. Airy St (at Swede St), Norristown, 19401
RSVP to http://montcobudgetrally.eventbrite.com or call (215) 563-5848 x 16

Statewide Budget Rally and Lobby Day, Harrisburg, PA
(with the CLEAR Coalition of labor unions)
Tuesday, May 3, Harrisburg. Activities start at 11am.
Buses and lunches provided for those who register, while supplies last.
Register online at www.clearforpa.org


CALL IN TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HEALTH EQUITY

RWV Health Equity Conference Call
Equity For All: Health Reform and Communities Affected by HIV/AIDS
Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 2 to 3 p.m. EDT

When advocates talk about health disparities and the aim of achieving health equity, they often limit their discussions to the categories of race and ethnicity. How can reproductive justice advocates work to broaden the scope of health equity to include other disparities? What provisions in the new health care law can help us achieve these goals? RWV’s Health Equity Working Group tackles these questions on a monthly conference call series.

On this upcoming conference call of RWV’s Health Equity Working Group, they will discuss disparities in access to health care for communities affected with HIV/AIDS. What are the provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the national health reform law, that impact those communities? What are the specific needs and issues for women who are affected by HIV/AIDS?

Featured speakers Amy Killelea from the Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP) and Naina Khanna from Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD) will address these questions.
Please join us for this important conversation.


VOTER REGISTRATION ENDS APRIL 18TH

The final day to register to vote in the Primary Election is quickly approaching! Voters must register by Monday, April 18th, 2011 in order to vote in this important primary election for Mayor, City Council, and other city officials. Primary Election Day for Democrats and Republicans is Tuesday, May 17th, 2011. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

This information was provided to us by Vote for Homes.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT POLICY & PRACTICE LECTURE

Join CLASP on May 9th for an event on how workforce policy and programs can best contribute to economic growth, community renewal and individuals' economic mobility.

Confirmed Speakers:
• Ray Marshall, U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Carter Administration
• William E. Brock, U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Reagan Administration
• Steven Gunderson, Republican Congressman from Wisconsin 1980-1996
• Kitty Higgins, Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration
• Roberts T. Jones, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training in the Reagan and Bush Administrations

This is an especially strategic time for a bi-partisan discussion on how workforce policy and programs can best contribute to economic growth, community renewal and individuals’ economic mobility. Today, as we emerge from recession, U.S. workers and businesses face daunting challenges that require a strong workforce system. We will need to assure that all segments of our ever more diverse workforce are prepared for an innovation and skill-based economy. The pending reauthorizations of workforce-related programs provide an opportunity to address these challenges. Yet, despite a history of bi-partisan support in Washington and in the states for employment, training and workforce education programs, constrained resources threaten their very existence.

The symposium will be held May 9, 2011 from 3:00-4:30 PM at the Dirksen Senate Office Building SD-562, Washington, D.C. 

For more information, visit the CLASP website.

Special PathWays PA Information/Events

PROJECT PEACE FOR TEENAGERS
Do you need help with education, childcare, welfare benefits, parenting or support? We can help!

The Project Peace Teen Parent Program provides one-on-one support for pregnant adolescents and teen parents.

Project Peace services are available at the MacDade Goodwill Store, 2137 MacDade Boulevard, Holmes PA, from Tuesdays from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Services provided will help you:
  • Complete high school and plan for higher education
  • Become a better parent
  • Obtain appropriate community resources, such as childcare, supportive services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Parents (TANF), life skills training and employment
  • Get in home support

For more information call 610-543-5022 or visit www.pathwayspa.org.

PATH$ TO BENEFITS

The PathWays PA Path$ 2 Benefits program provides access to counseling and workshops on banking and budgeting assistance, credit and debt management counseling, identity theft repair, financial goal planning, financial crisis management, college planning, housing assistance, and free tax preparation. Clients can also be screened for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and many other services. Even unemployed and dislocated workers can take part in programs that improve their credit without costing money.

For more information, please call 610-543-5022 or email financialpaths@pathwayspa.org.

FINANCIAL PATH$

Financial Path$, a new program from PathWays PA, helps individuals and families build paths toward economic self-sufficiency through financial education, asset building and economic empowerment. This program provides one-on-one financial counseling and financial education workshops. Financial Path$ is committed to assisting everyone carve their path to self-sufficiency.

If you or your clients would be interested in learning more about this program please contact wrahemtulla@pathwayspa.org.

For more information become Financial Path$ friend on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Stay turned as we will also be launching a blog very soon!

FREE TAX PREPARATION

PathWays PA offers FREE certified tax preparation at our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Free tax preparation is for taxpayers with an annual gross household income less than $50,000.

Keep your full refund and save your money:
  • No tax preparation fees
  • No E-filing Fees
  • No check cashing fees
  • Open a no-fee savings or prepaid debit card account
  • Purchase a risk free US Saving Bond
  • Find out it you’re eligible for SNAP (food stamps)

Taxpayers must being all necessary identification and required tax statement for taxpayer, spouse, and dependents.

Locations:
Philadelphia County – 3617 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia PA
Delaware County – 310 Amosland Road, Holmes PA

Call 610-543-5022 or 1-800-209-2914 to schedule your FREE tax appointment today!

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