PathWays PA E-Newsletter: July 20, 2009

PA Budget

It is late July and the Commonwealth is still without a budget. Currently, there are four proposals on the table, Senate Bill 850, the Governor’s revised proposal, House Bill 1461, and the Amended Senate Bill 850. The House recently passed House Bill 1461, which would move $1.2 billion of higher education line items out of the general fund budget and into a new Higher Education Fund. It will also cut $500 million from the Governor’s proposal by cutting funds from such programs as Pre-K Counts, Early Intervention, Maternal and Child Health, and Teen Pregnancy and Parenting.

Below is a summary of how House Bill 1461, and the other proposals, will affect key programs:

  • Industry Partnerships: The Governor’s revised proposal and House Bill 1416 cut roughly 30% from Industry Partnerships and Training Activities. The Amended Senate Bill 850 eliminates all funding for both programs.
  • Child Care Services for Working Families: The Governor requested funding child care services at $171.7 million, the same as the 2008-09 appropriation. The Amended Senate Bill would allocate $160 million. House Bill 1416 restores the proposed $171.7 million allocation.
  • CHIP: The Governor proposed $103.3 million in state funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which would draw down $305.9 million in federal funding. The Amended Senate Bill would flat fund CHIP at $86.9 million. House Bill 1416 would fund the program at the same level as the Governor’s plan.
  • adultBasic: The Governor has proposed using $251.7 million in state, federal and other funds to expand the state’s adultBasic program in order to provide an affordable basic health care plan for up to 50,000 additional uninsured adults. There are currently 45,500 people enrolled in adultBasic and 272,200 on the waiting list.

If you are upset about these and other potential cuts, which range from education to hospitals to the elimination of the Industry Partnership program, please tell your legislators today.

Federal Issues

Tell your Members of Congress – Health Reform Must Advance, Not Set Back, Children’s Health Coverage

While health reform holds great promise in providing more children and adults with affordable and comprehensive health coverage, certain legislative proposals could result in some children ending up with fewer benefits.

One proposal is to end the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and move those 7 million children into a new health insurance exchange created as part of the health reform. We must ensure that this change does not mean that children will have fewer benefits, limits on their benefits, or higher cost sharing.

Please send a letter to your members of Congress to remind them to make sure any health reform will insure all children from head to toe!

Support the Hunger Free Schools Act!

The Hunger Free Schools Act, S.1343, would enable more low-income children to participate in school meals. It would create a program similar to the one currently in use in Philadelphia, which was recently saved through a campaign by both legislators and the public.

This legislation would:
  • Expand access to child nutrition programs by requiring school districts to utilize data from Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to directly certify more students that are eligible for free school meals;
  • Allow schools or districts serving a high proportion of low-income children to serve free meals to all students and be reimbursed based on socioeconomic data rather than individual applications; and
  • Improve state performance in directly certifying eligible children by setting a performance standard (95 percent of eligible students should be directly certified for school lunch programs) and providing incentives to high performance States.
Please contact your Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation.

Funding Alert: Ask Your Members of Congress to Fully Fund the Corporation for National and Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) plays a vital role in supporting the American culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility. CNCS is the nation’s largest grant maker that supports service and volunteering.

Please urge your legislators to adequately fund the CNCS programs and America`s intergenerational service opportunities. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009 strengthened and expanded programs for intergenerational service in America. Congress needs to fully fund these initiatives so the country can fully benefit from these new opportunities.

News and Information

Free Women’s Health Information!

Women now have a new, easy to access tool to help them live healthier lives: Free Women’s Wellness Guide Kiosks are now available.
The Women’s Wellness Guide kiosk provides information on diseases and conditions common to women. They can be found across Pennsylvania including in grocery stores, county assistance offices, Women Infant and Children (WIC) offices, health care clinics, and prison waiting rooms. All of the information on the kiosk is available in English or Spanish.
For kiosk locations, please call 1-888-615-7477 or visit the Pennsylvania Women’s Commission’s website.

Financial Advice and Assistance – Get Help Now!

"Get Help Now PA!” is a volunteer initiative to connect Pennsylvanians facing financial difficulties with advice and assistance from professionals in their communities.
Starting July 7, volunteer professionals will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at locations across the Commonwealth to provide free assistance and referrals on issues related to credit, finance and bankruptcy.
For more information, call toll-free 1-888-799-4557 or visit the Get Help PA website.

The Help is Here Express Bus

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has announced that its ‘Help is Here Express’ bus, sponsored by their Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) program, is scheduled to crisscross Pennsylvania the week of July 27th. The bus helps uninsured and financially struggling patients obtain the medicines they need. It usually only takes 10 to 15 minutes to determine if someone may qualify for free or nearly free medicines.

Patients seeking help can also call a toll-free number, 1-888-4-PPA-NOW, to talk to a trained operator, or they can access the PPA Web site.

Temple University is Seeking Science and Math Mentors

Temple University’s Experience Corps and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) are collaborating on a project that will bring together retired professionals and high school science and math teachers to design experiential activities and instructional projects.
There are several ways to get involved in this project:
  • Using your experience and knowledge, you will learn how to collaborate with a classroom science or math teacher to prepare experiential activities that will engage students
  • Working with students, either individually or in small groups, to help them understand math and science concepts and increase their awareness of math and science related careers
To learn more about this exciting opportunity, come to an Information Session on Wednesday, July 29 at noon at Temple University Center City at 1515 Market Street, Room 521, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

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