Morning Must Reads: Denying Poor Kids Health Care, Disenfranchising Voters and More Privatization

This morning’s news is decidedly unpleasant. The Philadelphia Daily News profiles a pacemaker-dependent child denied health care by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

Kheli Muhammad was trying to schedule a routine pediatrician's appointment last summer when she discovered that her 2-year-old son, who has a congenital heart disorder, had been kicked off the Medicaid rolls.

The 30-year-old mother of two boys was stunned.

"It is written in stone that he's covered," Muhammad said of Samad, who qualifies for Medicaid based on his serious medical condition, not the family's income level. "He's pacemaker-dependent ... [H]is heart will not beat without a pacemaker."

But the heartbeat of the fragile little Samad was clearly not a priority for welfare officials, who informed Muhammad that she had failed to renew his benefits — even though she said she had not received renewal paperwork in the mail — and that she'd have to reapply...

Samad Muhammad is not the region's only kid to wake up without health-care coverage in recent months. At least 89,000 children vanished from the state Medicaid rolls between August and January — roughly 25,000 of them in Philadelphia, according to the state Department of Public Welfare.

Most of those kids — about 71,000 statewide — were removed as part of a massive effort to clear a backlog of recipients whose paperwork was not up to date, according to DPW spokeswoman Anne Bale. Medicaid recipients must file paperwork to renew their eligibility every six months, upon receiving documents from DPW...

The drastic swing in Medicaid enrollments has prompted a furious debate in Harrisburg over Republican Gov. Corbett's budget proposal for next year, which includes a $629 million cut in social services while providing tax breaks for businesses.

Religious leaders in Harrisburg detail the difficulty they will face in helping citizens obtain photo ID so that they can vote in the election.

A group of Harrisburg-area religious leaders are convinced Pennsylvania’s new voter identification law will block many people from voting, especially the old, the poor and racial minorities.

Finally, the Corbett administration is now soliciting bids from private companies to run the Pennsylvania lottery.


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