Mar. 09, 2022

HARRISBURG – Today the House Appropriations Committee held its penultimate day of budget hearings. The committee heard from the Department of Human Services (DHS).

DHS is colluding with SEIU to push forced collective bargaining through the Physical Health-HealthChoices managed care contracting process.

DHS has continued to push language for managed care contracts preventing a hospital that has experienced a work stoppage in the last five years from participating in a managed care network, unless their workforce is unionized.
This would block several hospitals from serving Medicaid patients, including UPMC Children’s and the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh.
When asked by Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Fulton), Acting Secretary Meg Snead said that the language “was a collaboration between the administration and SEIU.” Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) told the secretary that she is endangering the lives of Pennsylvanians for political purposes. Watch the exchange here.

Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) followed up to ask why SEIU was given a special seat at the table to influence a state procurement process to their sole benefit. Could it be the fact that they gave Gov. Tom Wolf $2.3 million in campaign contributions? Watch his remarks here.

The governor’s vaccine cash giveaway for state employees will cost DHS, and ultimately taxpayers, $8.9 million.

DHS could not answer what the increase in vaccination rate was as a result of the incentive.  Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) pointed out that the vaccination dates are on the vaccine card, so it wouldn’t have been difficult to determine how many employees got the vaccinee as a result of the incentive. Watch the exchange here.

The governor’s budget proposes to more than triple the state supplementary payment to personal care homes, a $50 million initiative.

The payment would increase from $439.30 to $1,351.80 a month. The department was unable to explain how it arrived at that number specifically. At one point, the department seemed to admit it was to support the “talking points” around its $50 million initiative.
The department didn’t even bother to review rates in other states to see how we would compare. 
DHS has been unable to disenroll individuals from Medicaid who no longer meet the eligibility criteria throughout the entirety of the federal public health emergency declaration.

DHS estimates this to be over 500,000 individuals. Once the federal public health emergency ends, DHS will begin the process of reviewing these individuals and estimates that 270,000 will be disenrolled while the rest may remain on Medicaid under a different eligibility category or be moved to CHIP.
DHS’s budget document estimates $471 million in savings in the 2022-23 fiscal year as a result of these disenrollment’s.

Rep. Stan Saylor, Chairman
House Appropriations Committee
Pennsylvania House of Representatives