Finance - March 8, 2013

Gov. Corbett says Medicaid expansion “not sustainable” in PA

Governor Tom Corbett appeared on Fox Business Channel and noted that he believes Medicaid expansion is not sustainable in Pennsylvania.  Corbett pointed out that with out “reforms,” expanding cannot be “recommended to the legislature” right now.  The governor also continued to cite concerns about the promised federal funding; one hundred percent for the first three years and ninety percent thereafter.  He pointed out that in our state the cost of coverage is higher than in other states and that he would only reconsider if the “the facts changed substantially.”

The governor’s interview comes on the heels of the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia claiming that the number of eligible people dropped from Medicaid since the crackdown on welfare waste and fraud may be much higher than state officials are claiming.  About 100,000 people were sent letters in the fall stating that they may be eligible after their case had been closed.  The Department of Public Welfare claims that three percent of those notified, responded and were eligible to be re-enrolled but the status of the other ninety-seven percent is undetermined and the department could not say how it arrived at the other ninety-seven percent being ineligible for re-enrollement.  Community Legal Services claims that at least 16,000 people responded to the letter and nearly half of those 16,000 have since re-enrolled in Medicaid.  DPW says it stands by its numbers at this time.


Texting while driving ban passes one year mark

March 8 marked one year since the law banning texting while driving went into effect.  In the first 10 months the law was in effect, police officers wrote less than 1,000 citations for texting while driving.  Law enforcement and other state and local officials note that the law is hard to enforce and difficult to prove.  The ban includes all text-based communication by the drive while a vehicle is in motion; that includes emails and instant messages as well. 

Law enforcement hopes that the fact that ban does exist, is at the least preventing people from texting while driving.  Preliminary data shows that car accidents involving cell phones have decreased in Pennsylvania, though, distracted driving accidents have increased.  Distracted driving includes a number of activities, including using a phone.  Currently the fine for texting while driving is $50.