Senator Fontana attended a check presentation at Bishop Canevin High School on April 28th where over $40,000 of scholarship money was donated to families in Allegheny County from Bridge Foundation, CSX Transportation and RBC Capital Market as part of the EITC Program.
Update on State-Run Health Insurance Exchange
On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf announced that his administration sent a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary advising them of his potential interest in creating a state-run health insurance exchange. In order to get federal tax credits and subsidies provided for by the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvanians must use the federally-operated exchange to get their health insurance. As of March, about 473,000 Pennsylvanians had enrolled in insurance plans for 2015 sold through the marketplace. Of those, about four in five (382,000 residents) qualified for the federal tax subsidy to help cover the cost of monthly premiums. Although this letter is not binding, this announcement was necessary to possibly prevent the nearly 400,000 residents from losing their insurance coverage in the future.
In March, the Supreme Court heard arguments from a lawsuit claiming that the strict language of the 2010 Affordable Care Act does not permit tax subsidies to be disbursed to customers who buy policies through the federal exchange; only those distributed through an exchange established by the state. As you may recall, then Governor Tom Corbett offered a commitment in 2011 to build a state-run insurance exchange, but backed out of the plan by 2012. As a result, the court ruling may throw out the federal subsidies for these individuals. A decision is expected by the end of June.
The letter Governor Wolf sent basically outlines a contingency plan to set up a state-based marketplace for insurance coverage so that these individuals would not lose their health coverage if the court would rule to eliminate the federal subsidy. If this would be the case, the enrollment and eligibility functions of the marketplace would still be handled by the federal government, but Pennsylvania would handle other aspects of the marketplace including running its own consumer call center and levying and collecting a fee on the insurers to fund the state’s operation.
With that being said, this letter is only a first step and this does not mean the commonwealth is moving forward with its own exchanges at this time.
I want to alert anyone currently enrolled in PACE or PACENET that the program, if they have not already, will be reaching out to all enrollees in an effort to update various demographic information such as address, telephone number, and emergency contacts. The request for this information has no effect on the enrollee’s participation in PACE/PACENET. It will enable program administrators with the PA Department of Aging to contact enrollees when necessary. When you receive the pre-printed update, you are simply asked to complete the form and return in the postage paid envelope.
The update form also contains a “check box” to learn about other valuable benefits that may be available to enrollees. For more information on PACE/PACENET please click here, visit www.aging.pa.gov, or call 1-800-225-7223. You can also obtain an application for PACE/PACENET by visiting any of my district offices.
Upcoming Shredding Events
I want to alert everyone about two upcoming shredding events. This Saturday, May 9th, together with Representative Dan Deasy, we are hosting a shredding event in the lower parking lot at St. Pamphilus Church in Beechview from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Then on Saturday, May 16th, along with Rep. Deasy and Green Tree Borough, we are hosting a shredding event in Green Tree Park from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
With consumer fraud and identity theft on the rise, we are hosting these events to not only to raise awareness and promote prevention, but also to provide individuals with the opportunity to have unneeded, confidential documents destroyed free of charge. You may bring documents that contain personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers. Credit cards, CDs and floppy disks will also be accepted.
Please note that at this year’s events, shredding will not occur on site, rather belongings can be dropped off where they will be securely loaded onto a truck and will be shredded by a reputable and bonded company.
Absentee Ballot Deadline
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the May 19th Primary Election is next Tuesday, May 12th. All completed absentee ballots must be received by the Allegheny County Division of Elections Office no later than 5 p.m. The Elections Office is located in the County Office Building at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh:
542 Forbes Avenue, Room 601
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
You may apply for an absentee ballot in person at the above address. When applying in person, once the ballots are printed and as long as you are properly registered, you will be given an absentee ballot on the spot enabling you to cast your vote right there. You may also visit any of my district offices to receive an absentee ballot application or go to the Resource Center page at www.votespa.com to download one.
If you have already applied for and received your absentee ballot, please know all voted absentee ballots must be received in the Elections Office no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15tth in order to be counted. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please visit the Absentee Ballot page on the Allegheny County website or call 412-350-4520.
New PTC Website
The PA Turnpike Commission has launched a new website this month in an effort to simplify navigation and increase compatibility with mobile devices. The upgraded site can still be accessed at www.paturnpike.com. The new site is equipped with a “Where did it go?” link at the top of the home page for users who are unable to find a particular page that was on the old site. By clicking on the PA Turnpike Keystone logo, users can return to the home page and links to the Turnpike’s Twitter and Facebook pages are also available.
In addition to being a valuable communication tool, the website supports a number of Turnpike business functions in the areas of employment, procurement, and permitting. It is also integrated with the TRIP Talk hands-free mobile app, the TRIP Line phone system, and the TRIP Preferred Traveler email alert system allowing all systems to receive and distribute traveler information as quickly as possible, delivering the same message regardless of how the driver elects to get their information. If anyone requires assistance or would like to provide comments regarding the new website, please contact the Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-331-3414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Stroke Awareness Month
May is American Stroke Month, an annual campaign by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to increase stroke awareness and to educate everyone that stroke is largely preventable, treatable and beatable. A stroke occurs when a vessel in the brain is blocked by a clot or ruptures. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States, but many do not think of stroke as a major health concern. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association encourages anyone who may think they are having a stroke to call 9-1-1 immediately and offers a way to recognize symptoms, F.A.S.T.
Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you know when the first symptoms appeared.
For more information on how to prevent and treat a stroke, including treatments and risk factors, please visit www.strokeassociation.org.
Did You Know…
Did you know in Pennsylvania, stroke is the third leading cause of death among women and the fifth in men?
Nominations for Red Cross Awards
The American Red Cross-Western Pennsylvania Region each year recognizes true heroes in our communities by honoring community members who exemplify the Red Cross mission, which is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. The annual Red Cross Heroes Breakfast honors heroes selected in the following categories: Educator; Fire Fighter; Professional Responder; Military; Medical Professional; Youth; Good Samaritan; and Lifetime Commitment to the Red Cross.
If you know someone who has done something exemplary that falls into one of the categories above and want to nominate them, please contact Karianne Fischbach at email@example.com or 412-263-3166 to receive a nominating form. An independent panel of judges will select this year’s honorees in each category and those individuals will be recognized at the Heroes Awards Breakfast in September.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) attracted over 2.9 million in person visits at its main location and 18 branches during 2014 despite having three of the 18 branches closed for renovations for part of the year. That figure represents more than a 3 percent increase over in person visits the previous year.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
524 Pine Hollow Rd
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216