Pa. state Rep. Tony DeLuca, who’s battling cancer himself, is introducing a measure to name 2016 “the Year to Cure Cancer” in the commonwealth. DeLuca, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, says cancer doesn’t discriminate, affecting people of all backgrounds. He says while great strides are being made toward finding a cure, he calls upon researchers and hospitals in Pennsylvania to work together to get even closer to ending cancer. Read more
Democratic Chairman of the Pa. House Insurance Committee, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, thanks the House of Representatives for their unanimous support of his resolution designating 2016 as "The Year to Cure Cancer." DeLuca, who is battling cancer himself, invokes President Obama's declaration of the Moonshot Project in calling upon researchers and hospitals to come together to find a cure. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, held a Capitol news conference this morning in support of his resolution, H.R. 695, which would declare 2016 as "The Year to Cure Cancer in Pennsylvania."
DeLuca was joined by Cancer Caucus chairman, state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin.
The news conference featured Pennsylvania doctors, researchers and medical specialists.
"Some form of cancer touches virtually every family in our country in some way, including my own family," DeLuca said. "We have made incredible strides, but I can't help but wonder what more we can do to eradicate this disease.
"Smallpox has been eradicated with vaccines worldwide. Modern scientists have discovered the causes of tetanus, rabies, yellow fever, measles, whooping cough and others. Yet cancer continues its destruction. It's time we also eradicate cancer."
Health care and cancer specialists who participated in the news conference include:
• Michael Neal, executive vice president, American Cancer Society;
• Dr. Chi Van Dang, University of Pennsylvania – Abramson Cancer Center;
• Dr. Anthony Coletta, Independence Blue Cross;
• Dr. Maryann Donavan, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute;
• Dr. Craig Meyers, Penn State University College of Medicine; and
• Dr. Virginia Calega, Highmark.
The resolution is co-sponsored by more than 50 representatives, Democrats and Republicans, and is scheduled for a vote later today.
A number of cancer support nonprofit agencies also a Read more
Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more
PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 21 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 84 into law, which will permit non-network EMS providers dispatched through an emergency response system to receive reimbursement directly from the patient’s insurance carrier if the provider agrees.
Additionally, if the EMS provider participates in the direct payment process with a particular insurer, the patient will only be liable for copayments, coinsurance or deductibles as outlined in their policy.
"I negotiated the inclusion of the language which will protect the patient from balance billing, where a medical provider charges a non-network customer the entire difference between what is billed and what the insurer pays," DeLuca said.
"As Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I advocated for this new law because it guarantees timely payments will be made to EMS providers, while also protecting patients from balance billing which can lead to unexpected costs."
DeLuca added that the EMS payment component of the new law was added to a bill that extended the CHIP health insurance program for children through 2017.
The new law extends the CHIP deadline immediately and the EMS payment changes take effect Jan. 1.
House Bill 854, introduced by state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, would require pharmacy technicians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a criminal background check and complete a board-approved training program before being permitted to register with the state. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 9 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed a bill requiring state registration for pharmacy technicians.
House Bill 854, introduced by state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, would require pharmacy technicians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a criminal background check and complete a board-approved training program before being permitted to register with the state.
Currently, pharmacy technicians require no formal training and must only be supervised by a licensed pharmacist to assist in filling prescriptions.
"This is a potential safety issue," DeLuca said. "We need to join Maryland, New Jersey and the more than 30 states that currently require registration of pharmacy technicians. By establishing a base level of education, training and background checks, Pennsylvania would be taking a positive step in maintaining the safety of the prescription process. Remember, these technicians are dealing with dangerous and possibly addictive drugs on a daily basis. This bill would ensure a basic skill level and reduce the risk of medications being handled by someone with a criminal history.
"I would like to thank my colleagues in the House for supporting this bill."
The bill now moves to the state Senate for further consideration.
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 19 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, is urging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to make a fast ruling on UPMCs appeal of a Commonwealth Court ruling requiring UPMC to continue accepting the health insurance of Highmark Medicare Advantage customers in-network.
PITTSBURGH, May 29 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, said he supports today's court ruling requiring local health care giant UPMC to continue accepting the health insurance of Highmark Medicare Advantage customers. "Today's decision gives some security to our seniors currently enrolled in the Highmark Medicare Advantage program," DeLuca said. "Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini left no doubt that the previous agreement which extended coverage through 2019 could not be cancelled by one side." UPMC previously announced plans to end the agreement, which would have left 182,000 Highmark Medicare Advantage subscribers without access to UPMC facilities beginning in January 2016. "The court ruling today was a sharp reminder that neither UPMC nor Highmark has the authority to change the consent decrees that are currently in effect." DeLuca added. "Now these Medicare Advantage subscribers can look to the fall open enrollment period with a sense of stability and the knowledge that their current plan will remain in effect for the next three years." DeLuca has been active in trying to end the dispute between Highmark and UPMC and introduced H.B. 1172, which would give the state Insurance commissioner the authority to provide additional patient protection for consumers who are impacted by the Highmark-UPMC dispute. As part of the original consent Read more
HARRISBURG, May 26 – Several state House and Senate Democratic leaders have filed a legal brief urging Commonwealth Court to protect Medicare enrollees who are at risk in the ongoing UPMC-Highmark battle. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said: "About 182,000 western Pennsylvania seniors will be harmed if UPMC is allowed to end its Medicare Advantage contract with Highmark. We believe that would violate both the letter and the spirit of the two companies' 2014 consent decrees with the state. "We're urging the court to enforce what both UPMC and Highmark already agreed to do and to require binding arbitration to settle all disputes between the two companies, including the Medicare issue, emergency and trauma services, out-of-network billing procedures, disputed claims processing and payments for cancer patients," Frankel said. House members who signed on to the legal brief are: Frankel; Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, Appropriations Committee Democratic Chairman Joseph Markosek and Insurance Committee Democratic Chairman Tony DeLuca, all D-Allegheny; Democratic Whip Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre; Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster; and Democratic Caucus Secretary Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila. Senators signing on to the legal brief are: Democratic Leader Jay Costa and Democratic Caucus Chairman Wayne Fontana, both D-Allegheny; and Sen. Jim Brewster, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, Read more
HARRISBURG, May 12 – The House Professional Licensure Committee today voted unanimously to move a bill requiring state registration for pharmacy technicians out of the committee for further consideration by the full House of Representatives. House Bill 854, introduced by state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, would require pharmacy technicians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a police background check and complete a board-approved training program before registering with the state. Currently, pharmacy technicians require no formal training and must only be supervised by a licensed pharmacist in order to assist in filling prescriptions. "This is a safety issue," DeLuca said. "We need to be able to guarantee that the people filling our prescriptions and handling dangerous and even addictive drugs on a daily basis are uniformly registered with the commonwealth. Requiring a base level of education, training and background checks will be a positive step in maintaining the safety of the prescription process." Currently, more than 30 states require the registration of pharmacy technicians, including the neighboring states of Maryland and New Jersey. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B. 1172, which would give the state Insurance Commissioner the authority to provide additional patient protection for consumers who are impacted by the Highmark-UPMC dispute. The bill would give the state the authority to ensure subscribers receive the protections the consent decrees promised during the continuing battle between the two insurance and medical giants. "These two giants agreed to terms which were designed to protect current, vulnerable subscribers when their in-network agreement between the providers expired in 2014." DeLuca said. Unfortunately, both sides have continued to look for ways to leave subscribers in limbo. Those subscribers were promised protection through 2019. Subscribers who are currently enrolled in the Medicare Advantage product are at risk after January 2016 since UPMC does not plan to offer in-network access to Highmark's Medicare Advantage cardholders. "It is clear that the legislature must act to protect these people, and we must have solid protections in place before our seniors begin reapplying for Medicare Advantage coverage in the fall open enrollment period." The DeLuca bill would give the Pennsylvania Insurance Department expanded oversight over medical integrated delivery service groups which service the Greater Pittsburgh area. The bill is expected to be assigned to the House Insurance Committee for consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has announced he will be introducing a bill which would prohibit public employees from campaign activities while using sick time. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for a public employee to campaign, canvass or plan election or political fundraising events while using sick time granted by their employer. Other activities which would be prohibited include circulating nomination petitions or papers and participating in an organized telephone campaign in an effort to influence the outcome of an election. "I want to ensure that sick time, including time taken under the Family Medical Leave Act, is used for its intended purpose," DeLuca said. "This bill is a common-sense approach to ensure that our public employees are not abusing the sick time they have earned for non-medical purposes. "This bill would also give the taxpayers, whose money pays these employees, extra assurances that their tax dollars are going toward a public benefit, not a candidate." Employees found guilty of violating this ban could face fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison. DeLuca will be introducing the bill shortly and it is expected to be assigned to a committee for further consideration. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 20 – In an effort to explore the ever-growing cost of health care in the commonwealth, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, is introducing legislation that would provide for pharmaceutical cost transparency. "As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry has implemented cost control measures, yet the rising cost of some prescription drugs continues to far outpace the other sectors of the health care industry," said DeLuca, D-Allegheny. DeLuca noted that while the pharmaceutical industry has issued prescription drug rebates to ease the financial burden on patients, the industry is also a big winner in the passage and enactment of the ACA due to more insured people being able to afford prescriptions. "I understand that research and development are part of the overhead costs of a prescription, but for the sticker price of a prescription drug to reach $100,000 or more for annual use is frightening and not sustainable," DeLuca said. "The insurance industry and health care providers are held accountable with profit ratios, rate caps and Medicare negotiations. We need insight into the pharmaceutical industry to examine the cost spikes in prescription drugs and determine if similar cost controls are needed there, as well." House Bill 1042 will likely be referred to the House Insurance Committee. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, commended Penn Hills mayor, deputy mayor and council members for their recent actions to keep rental properties safe and free from code violations. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 9 – In light of recent news unveiling the fiscal woes of Penn Hills School District, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has asked Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to conduct a full audit of the district’s budget. Read more
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