This post has been regularly updated since its original publication on April 17 to reflect legislative action.
Please take action NOW to oppose Pennsylvania House Bill 2138, which would impose work requirements on people receiving medical assistance.
House Republican leaders quickly pushed the bill out of the House Health Committee in early April with only Republican support and without a public hearing. The Pa. House passed it in a mostly party-line vote. It is now in the Pa. Senate.
The bill would punish those who can’t meet the new Medicaid work requirements by barring them from Medicaid for 3-9 months, even if they find work.
If it passes, it will go on to the state Senate. We must stop it in its tracks! Especially if you live in a Republican district, please take action now!
Already headed to the state Senate after passing the House in a party-line vote is House Bill 1659. It would make the time limits on food assistance (SNAP) even harsher by requiring people in areas of high unemployment to meet the SNAP work requirement.
These two bills cut the basic human services that help people most in need get through tough times – tens of thousands of low-wage and part-time workers who can’t find steady employment, veterans, people who are homeless, and people struggling with addictions. But they also create additional unnecessary and costly bureaucratic red-tape that would make it harder for all vulnerable Pennsylvanians to access food and health care – including working parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
The Pa. House passed HB 1659 on May 1 the same way they did HB 2138 on April 17 – in a party-line vote with nearly all Republicans (including those from Allegheny County) voting in favor, and all Democrats (including those from Allegheny County) voting against it. HB 2138 is now in the Health and Human Services committee of the Pa. Senate. (HB 1659 won’t get assigned to that committee until the Senate resumes session after the May 15 primary.)
Please call your Pa. state senator RIGHT NOW and tell them you oppose any bills that demonize poor people, cut off their access to basic needs, and create new bureaucracies that would cost us millions in state taxes.
Here’s a sample script for Senate calls:
I’m calling today to ask Senator _____________ to oppose adding work requirements and making cuts to Medicaid. The latest attack on Medicaid, House Bill 2138, creates expensive red tape and added government bureaucracy that will trap working families and cut their coverage over paperwork errors. Instead of spending $3.4 billion over six years on making cuts to Medicaid, lawmakers should focus on bringing real jobs and affordable coverage to Pennsylvania. <If you have a story about how your family would be impacted, tell it here.> Please vote no on House Bill 2138 and any bill that would cut people off Medicaid.
Lawmakers should instead focus on policies that help create jobs and boost wages. Our legislators must do their jobs and work to create better job opportunities for the rest of us, not simply punish those who lack them.
Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) fact sheets on HB 2138: