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
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
HARRISBURG, March 20 – In an effort to revive citizens’ trust in Pennsylvania government, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, sent a letter to state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, majority chairman of the House State Government committee, urging him to hold a vote on two pieces of recently-introduced legislation. Read more
PITTSBURGH — One Pennsylvania legislator is taking a third swing at increasing transparency about lawmakers’ work, income and possible conflicts.
“We’re at the bottom of the barrel right now,” in terms of how much people trust government, State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, told Watchdog.org. “We’re down there with the attorneys,” he jokingly added. Read more
Pennsylvania has one of the nation's 10 "full-time" state legislatures. That, by itself, raises the question of why the legislature has to be full-time, since 40 other states seem to be getting by without the costs that full-time legislatures impose on taxpayers. Read more
State Rep. Anthony DeLuca is giving his colleagues in the Legislature a third chance to persuade constituents that their interests, not those of the lawmakers, come first. Read more
On Thursday, the House voted on legislation that would do much more than privatize the sale of wine and spirits. The legislation, which I opposed, would possibly triple the number of stores from 600 to up to 1800 stores that could sell alcohol. Do we really want a liquor store on every corner?
I want you to have the facts to understand why the commonwealth of Pennsylvania should continue to oversee the sale of alcohol, the No. 1 drug in this country.
Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s 10 “full-time” state legislatures. That, by itself, raises the question of why the Legislature has to be full time, since 40 other states seem to be getting by without the costs that full-time legislatures impose on taxpayers.
State lawmakers are the second-highest paid in the land, with a base salary of about $85,000 a year, second only to California’s $90,000. But California, with 39 million residents, has just 80 representatives and 40 senators. Pennsylvania’s 13 million residents fund 203 representatives and 50 senators. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 25 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, today hosted a news conference to unveil legislation that would require additional disclosure of lawmakers' outside income and place a limit of that income as well.
"The Pennsylvania General Assembly is a full-time legislature that is paid full-time and works hard in Harrisburg and in our respective legislative districts. Our constituents deserve our full attention and the only clock we should be punching is the one for them," DeLuca explained.
HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, will host a news conference to discuss legislation that would limit outside income for legislators and update disclosure requirements for public officials when declaring outside income. Read more
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