Blog: Page 44

Tom Wolf: Here’s my letter to Speaker Ryan on the ACA

We cannot afford to repeal healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians or make cuts to Medicaid — especially in the wake of this public health crisis that affects so many of our friends, family members, and neighbors.

Today, President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and the entire Republican congressional caucus are in Philadelphia to plan legislative priorities for the 116th United States Congress.

At the top of their agenda is repealing the Affordable Care Act, including the repeal of Medicaid expansion — which nearly 700,000 Pennsylvanians rely on for healthcare. In addition, 63,000 people suffering from addiction accessed drug and alcohol treatment through Medicaid. Even funding for vital treatment options in the fight against the heroin and opioid crisis isn’t safe under Trump’s plan.

I have met with people who received coverage for the first time under the Affordable Care Act and heard what it meant to them to not have to choose between insurance or paying the heating bill. I’ve held in my own arms a newborn baby suffering from heroin withdrawal. I’ve consoled daughters and sons who have lost a parent to a drug overdose. And I’ve seen the happiness of families reunited and moving forward after a loved one has completed treatment.

We cannot afford to repeal healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians or make cuts to Medicaid — especially in the wake of this public health crisis that affects so many of our friends, family members, and neighbors.

While President Trump, Speaker Ryan, and their Republican colleagues are in Philadelphia, please take a moment to make your voice heard by signing the petition to save the Affordable Care Act.

In 2015, more than 3,500 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to the disease of addiction. In the past year, I’ve gone to more than 30 roundtables and dozens of visits to treatment centers to meet with those who are affected by this epidemic. That’s why I invited Speaker Ryan to visit one of the centers that provides drug abuse treatment options funded through Medicaid and see firsthand how the program saves lives.

My greatest fear is that repealing the Affordable Care Act will cause too many Pennsylvania families to lose coverage and that cuts to Medicaid will cut off access to crucial treatment options that are helping us fight the opioid and heroin epidemic.

People will die as a result. This is not hyperbole — access to treatment through Medicaid is keeping Pennsylvanians alive who might otherwise face overdoses or worse.

President Trump and Speaker Ryan say they want to help Americans who struggle to afford healthcare and they talk tough about fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic, but these problems require more than just rhetoric — they need bipartisan solutions.

So, help me send this urgent message to protect access to healthcare and drug treatment to fight the opioid epidemic — add your name to the petition.

Here’s a copy of the letter I sent to Speaker Paul Ryan inviting him to join me at a treatment center in Pennsylvania:

Frances Wolf: Women’s Rights are Human Rights

The Women’s Marches across Pennsylvania, the country, and the world were an incredible show of solidarity and democratic activism. Together, millions of people stood up for our nation’s founding promise of justice and equality for all.

The Women’s Marches across Pennsylvania, the country, and the world were an incredible show of solidarity and democratic activism. Together, millions of people stood up for our nation’s founding promise of justice and equality for all.

My husband has been standing up for women’s rights for as long as I’ve known him. We’ve volunteered together at Planned Parenthood, and we’ve seen the difficult decisions many women have to make in consultation with their doctor.

Unfortunately, there are powerful people and extreme special interest groups that don’t see women’s rights as human rights.

In Washington, President Donald Trump has already signed executive orders making it the official White House policy to repeal the Affordable Care Act and limit access to reproductive healthcare and information. And here in Pennsylvania, extreme politicians in Harrisburg continue to push for legislation to criminalize a woman’s constitutional right to make her own medical decisions and defund Planned Parenthood.

So, we’ll need you to keep up the fight. A quick way you can show your support for women across Pennsylvania is to add your name to the petition for women’s rights, healthcare, and equality.

But there are lots of other ways to get involved and turn the spirit of Saturday’s marches into continued action — here are a few:

  1. Call your representatives and speak out about women’s rights, healthcare, and the Affordable Care Act — or whatever issues are important to you.
  2. Volunteer with or donate to Planned Parenthood.
  3. Join your local county Democratic Party organization.
  4. Run for office yourself — and if you’re under 35, check out RunForSomething.net.
  5. Forward this email to a few friends and encourage them to add their name to the petition or take any of the actions above.

It’s vital to our democracy for us to not only keep the energy and excitement from the Women’s Marches alive but also to encourage as many as possible to take the next step in their involvement in this movement.

Tom and I can’t wait to see what you all do next.

Thank you.

2016-2017 budget secures $250 million for public education

The budget will help ensure student success, and improve access to a high-quality education — regardless of zip code. It provides an additional $250 million for public schools, including increases for Pre-K and special education, and it provides a nearly $40 million increase for higher education.

Yesterday, Republicans and Democrats came together to complete the budget. Together, we’ve made a historic investment in education that will bring us closer to restoring the cuts of the past and we’ve made fighting the opioid crisis that has struck our commonwealth a priority.

The budget will help ensure student success, and improve access to a high-quality education — regardless of zip code. It provides an additional $250 million for public schools, including increases for Pre-K and special education, and it provides a nearly $40 million increase for higher education.

In addition to making a historic investment in education, the budget secures critical funding to improve treatment options for Pennsylvanians struggling with substance abuse disorder and will help more than 4,500 people gain access to treatment.

Since taking office, I’ve made combating the opioid epidemic a priority. Expanding Medicaid has helped more than 62,000 people receive treatment for addiction and equipping police with Naloxone has saved more than 1,000 lives.

Our fight against this epidemic is not finished, and now that this year’s budget is complete it is imperative that we all continue to work together to focus on this public health crisis. While the budget allows us to expand treatment for individuals suffering from addiction, we must do more to address this matter that is plaguing all of our communities. My administration will keep its focus on this issue, and I will continue preparing for the upcoming special session.

I have fought hard to turn things around and move the Commonwealth forward. In addition to the historic funding for education in this budget and efforts to fight the opioid crisis, I have worked together with Republicans and Democrats to achieve major progress on issues including the legalization of medical marijuana, historic liquor reform, and a fair funding formula for our schools.

Together, we can make government work for the people, and while we still have more work to do, I’m proud of the work we’ve done together.

Thank you.

 

We will always fight to protect a woman’s right to choose

Frances and I are proud to stand with women and their families for access to reproductive healthcare — and we’ll always fight to protect a woman’s constitutional right to choose. We’ve volunteered together at Planned Parenthood, and we’ve seen the difficult decisions many women have to make in consultation with their doctor.

Frances and I are proud to stand with women and their families for access to reproductive healthcare — and we’ll always fight to protect a woman’s constitutional right to choose.

We’ve volunteered together at Planned Parenthood, and we’ve seen the difficult decisions many women have to make in consultation with their doctor. In April, we invited several families from across Pennsylvania to Harrisburg to share their stories about those very decisions:

“It was our 20-week ultrasound and my husband and I were excited. We expected to get cute ultrasound photos to share with our families and go home to tell our three-year-old son that he’d be getting a little brother or sister. Instead, our ultrasound revealed devastating news — news that I wish no parent should ever have to hear.” – Kelsey Williams

“We were told that our son’s condition was not only incredibly rare but also beyond repair. In a situation I never could have predicted — where I’d never had a choice for the spontaneous development of my son’s syndrome — I was at least allowed the decision to spare him an existence of prolonged pain, or worse.” – Erica Goldblatt Hayatt

“My husband squeezed my hand and I tried not to panic. Then the Doctor told us our baby had a form of dwarfism so severe that her chance of survival was incredibly low, actually non-existent, incompatible with life. I want people to know that abortion is not about the unwanted, the unvalued, and the unknown babies of the world. Abortion is my story and what happened to my family. The decision we made for Evelyn was made because her life mattered to us.” – Karen Agatone

Unfortunately, the General Assembly chose not to listen to families, doctors, or constitutional experts and passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

HB1948 would force women to carry a pregnancy to term with no chance of survival — and it prohibits a woman’s right to have an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.

This legislation is wrong and I will veto it if HB1948 reaches my desk — say you’re with me and call on the state Senate to reject this attack on women’s rights.

Additionally, this bill is unconstitutional because it changes from 24 weeks to 20 weeks the time for an abortion. The Supreme Court has held that a state cannot regulate abortions before 24 weeks.

This legislation would be a step backward for women and for Pennsylvania. I urge the Senate to reject it. If this reaches my desk, I will veto it. This is a bad bill for Pennsylvania and we cannot afford to allow it to go forward.

Say you’re with me and stand with women, families, and doctors across Pennsylvania — sign the petition.

Thank you.