Health Care

Third and State This Week: The PA Budget and Connecting the Dots Between Wage Growth and Unemployment

The week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, school funding, transportation funding, and the Medicaid expansion. Plus we shared a graphic connecting the dots between wage growth and unemployment.


  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about passage of the $28.375 billion spending plan for 2013-14, and Sharon Ward shared her recent op-ed on the opportunity — and obligation — the Pennsylvania Senate had to really close corporate tax loopholes with this budget.
  • On school funding, Sharon Ward wrote that the Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the state Secretary of Education.
  • On transportation, Michael Wood wrote about dueling House and Senate bills to provide between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for transportation projects. Neither plan was passed before the Legislature left for its summer recess.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee's approval of legislation to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the full Senate vote on the bill, and how the House derailed the effort before adjourning for the summer.
  • And on wages, Mark Price shared a graphic from Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project illustrating the connection between unemployment and wage growth.


House Derails Medicaid Expansion But the Fight Goes On

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The Pennsylvania House rejected an effort by Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) today to revive the Medicaid expansion before the Legislature breaks for its summer recess this week.

Senate Approved Medicaid Expansion But It Faces Hurdle in the House

The Pennsylvania Senate on Sunday approved legislation to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. The plan faces its biggest hurdle yet today in the House, where leaders are promising not to bring it up for a vote.

Help us make Medicaid expansion a reality in Pennsylvania. Go here to email AND call your state Representative. When you call, give your name, address, and town and say: Please vote YES on Medicaid Expansion. Thank you.

Then call House Leader Mike Turzai and ask him to allow a vote on the floor. Dial 717-772-9943 and leave a message saying: I'm calling to ask that you allow the House to vote on Medicaid expansion.

As we have written often in recent months, Pennsylvania should take this federal opportunity to expand health coverage: it will create jobs, strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy, and make its citizens healthier and more financially stable.

Pennsylvania Moves One Step Closer to Expanding Medicaid

Pennsylvania has an unparalleled opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage under the U.S. health reform law to between 600,000 and 800,000 hardworking low-income Pennsylvanians, lowering the state's uninsured rate by over 50%.

Third and State This Week: School Funding Cuts, Medicaid Expansion Good for Veterans & Drilling Fee Fails to Keep Up

This week at Third and State, we set the record straight about state education funding cuts and how Pennsylvania's drilling impact fee is failing to keep pace with growth in natural gas production. We also wrote about growing momentum to delay a corporate tax cut and the tens of thousands of uninsured veterans who would benefit from expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania.


  • On education, Chris Lilienthal blogged that nearly 85% of the cuts to public school classrooms enacted in the past two years remain intact in the state budget plan before the Legislature.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about news the state Senate plans to vote next week on expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for uninsured veterans.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged about a new report showing that a modest natural gas severance tax would raise twice as much revenue as Pennsylvania's local impact fee and do a better job keeping up with expected growth in natural gas production.
  • And on state budget and taxes, we highlighted recent news stories showing that momentum is building in Harrisburg to delay a tax cut for corporations next year in order to restore funding to public schools and other budget priorities.


PA Senate to Vote on Medicaid Expansion

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning that the state Senate plans to vote next week on a federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Third and State This Week: Payday Lending Debt Trap, Medicaid Rally, Pensions, State Budget, and More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the payday lending debt trap, a big rally at the Capitol in support of expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania, 10 reasons Governor Corbett's pension plan will cost taxpayers more, the latest with the state budget, Pennsylvania's housing market, and more.


  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a Senate bill that will open the door to payday lenders to come to Pennsylvania and charge triple-digit annual interest rates on short-term loans.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a Capitol rally that brought out hundreds of people from across Pennsylvania to put some faces (and stories) to the ongoing debate over expanding Medicaid coverage in Harrisburg.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about superintendents from cuts-ravaged urban school districts coming to town to press for more education funding, among other happenings in the Capitol this week.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg shared the Keystone Research Center's top 10 reasons Governor Corbett's pension plan will dig a deeper hole for taxpayers.
  • On housing, Mark Price shared some charts on the Pennsylvania housing market.


  • Congratulations to the honorees of the 2013 Keystone Research Center Annual Awards Dinner: Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees, who received the Sol Hoffman Award, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, which received the Susan C. Eaton Award.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's media statement on the House passage of a 2013-14 budget bill and get the latest budget news here.
  • Read a fact sheet on the Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.
  • Read a memo to lawmakers from the Keystone Research Center on how transitioning new public employees to 401(k)-type retirement plans will cost taxpayers more. Read KRC's policy brief on how public pensions inject millions of dollars into local economies across Pennsylvania. Learn more about public pension reform here.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania with data on student enrollment, school funding and more.


Lives Are on the Line in Medicaid Expansion Debate

Cover the Commonwealth: Lives on the Line RallyThis week, hundreds of people from across Pennsylvania took the Capitol by storm to put faces to the debate over expanding Medicaid health coverage in Pennsylvania.

The "Lives on the Line" rally featured a number of speakers who talked about the stress of working full-time without health insurance. One woman named Petrina has diabetes, but her employer doesn't offer health insurance. She had to fight back tears as she talked about the struggle to control her insulin. She is understandably terrified.

On Tap Today: Budget Vote, School Rally & Lives on the Line

Today is a busy day at the State Capitol. Superintendents from cuts-ravaged urban school districts are in town to press for more education funding. Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Allentown, and Reading, among others, are looking at a third year of deep cuts to student programs.

Third and State Recap: State Budget News, Payday Lending, Pensionomics, Education Funding & More

Over the past two weeks at Third and State, we blogged about the latest on the state budget and education funding, May's revenue report, and why policymakers must prioritize investments in Pennsylvania's future over new tax cuts. We also wrote about how public pensions inject millions into local economies and why payday lending, by any name, is still a debt trap.


  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward blogged about the state House Republicans' 2013-14 budget plan and shared a video of her appearance this week on the Pennsylvania Cable Network where she made the case for closing tax loopholes, delaying new tax cuts, and restoring funding to schools and human services in the next budget. Kate Atkins blogged about school district and county officials from across the state who came to Harrisburg this week with a message for state lawmakers: prioritize investments in our schools, county health services, and infrastructure over new tax cuts. And Michael Wood wrote that while General Fund revenues are ahead of estimates in May, this year’s revenue surplus is unlikely to reach the $232 million forecasted back in February.
  • On public pensions, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a Keystone Research Center report showing that pension benefits earned by retired teachers, first responders and public health workers inject millions of dollars into regional and local economies across Pennsylvania.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about Senate legislation that would legalize predatory payday loans with annual interest rates above 300%. Payday loans are described in the bill as "micro loans," but as Mark writes, payday lending, by any name, takes advantage of people in financial distress.
  • Finally, on education, we posted a video from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's May 28 webinar laying out the facts on state cuts to education in recent years.



  • Time is running out. Join the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Thursday, June 13 for our Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Harrisburg. Learn more and purchase tickets.
  • Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Tuesday, June 18 from 4 to 5 p.m. for a webinar highlighting the latest on the 2013-14 state budget. Learn more and register to participate.
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