Morning Must Reads: Shameful: PA Has Denied 88,000 Kids Health Care Since August

Key elements of the Corbett administration's strategy are to cut business taxes while reducing spending on public health and education. This morning we learn this strategy has resulted in the loss of health care for 88,000 Pennsylvania children.

More children lost Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania in December than in the previous three months combined, according to new Department of Public Welfare numbers that show a total of 88,000 cut since August.

Advocates for the poor and disabled say orders to quickly process a backlog of eligibility reviews, which has mushroomed to more than 700,000 cases, have pushed an already overwhelmed workforce over the edge.

Many cuts that legal-services and social workers challenged turned out to involve paperwork that they say DPW lost — sometimes repeatedly, even when clients had receipts — or that had never been sent in the first place.

The official numbers don't count an additional 23,000 children whose benefits were cut and eventually restored retroactively, often with legal help. But poorer people may be less likely to call a lawyer, and child advocates believe thousands have no idea they are now uninsured ...

On Friday, an infant who was born three months prematurely was brought in for a monthly immunoglobulin injection and was denied, to the surprise of hospital workers and family, when the staff ran the insurance card. Without the preventive shot, [St. Christopher's Hospital for Children pediatrician
Renee] Turchi said, complications of a virus could be life-threatening.

In Allentown, the Parkland School Board is looking to sell advertising on school buses to help the district avoid additional staff cuts and property tax increases.

The Parkland School Board is considering advertising on school buses, the latest dollar-digging strategy to raise money in a tough economic climate when officials are eyeing program cuts and tax hikes...

The move comes a week before the school board is expected to adopt a preliminary budget for the 2012-13 school year. The early spending proposal, scheduled for a vote Jan. 24, includes plans to reduce staff and raise taxes by nearly 4 percent.

Update: A reader let me know that my title was misleading. As the reader notes:

Pennsylvania didn't deny new applications, but terminated kids who were already receiving health care.



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