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, May 21 – State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, recently introduced legislation that would both help enhance public health and generate revenue in the commonwealth. House Bill 1213 would increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and impose a 40 percent tax on the wholesale price of other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, “roll-your-own” tobacco and smokeless tobacco. Frankel said Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not impose some type of tax on smokeless tobacco and one of two states that does not tax cigars. “It’s time that Pennsylvania joins every other state in the nation in levying a fair tax on these kinds of tobacco products,” Frankel said. “We’re faced with a $2 billion structural budget deficit and we cannot continue to overlook reasonable revenue streams such as an OTP tax that could generate significant funds for the Commonwealth.” Daley said imposing these taxes could help deter young people from using cigarettes and OTPs. “Many teens succumb to peer pressure by using tobacco products and end up becoming life-time users,” Daley said. “What’s troubling is there are now alternative products, such as e-cigarettes, that are growing in popularity and have the same addicting effects as regular cigarettes. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a Read more
HARRISBURG, May 11 – Members of the legislature's Women’s Health Caucus today unveiled their "Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health" for the new session at a Capitol news conference. The caucus is co-chaired by Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Frank Farry, R-Bucks; and Sens. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, and Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks. Frankel said, "We need to do more than honor women with words and Mother's Day cards – our bipartisan caucus is putting forth a package of legislation that would make specific progress for Pennsylvania women in areas such as family-friendly working conditions, economic fairness, ensuring healthy lives and help for victims of domestic violence." Farry said, "Women’s health is an important issue and we in the General Assembly take it seriously, including the health of our female veterans and active duty military personnel. In Pennsylvania alone, there are nearly 80,000 women veterans. While the proportion of women veterans to male veterans continues to increase, the unique health needs of women can be overlooked in providing services to a large, and predominantly male, veteran population. This comprehensive package of bills will go a long way in ensuring all Pennsylvania women, including our veterans, have health care options to meet their needs." Schwank said, "Women and families play a pivotal role in the overall health of our communities and the Read more
HARRISBURG, April 9 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement in regard to UPMC’s decision not to renew the Medicare Advantage contract with Highmark customers: "I applaud Governor Wolf for standing up for the senior citizens in southwestern Pennsylvania and I pledge to work with his administration closely to ensure that UPMC abides by the contractual mandates it agreed to in the consent decree," Frankel said. "UPMC appears to be engaging in an unethical revenue enhancement strategy that does nothing to strengthen health care in our community. Instead, all this maneuver does is jeopardize the health care and well-being of 180,000 senior citizens. "This is not the behavior that we expect from an organization that is deemed a purely public charity and enjoys all the benefits of a public charity, including tax exemptions, federal and state tax dollars, and philanthropic donations. "I urge UPMC to come to its senses for the benefit of our most vulnerable citizens. It’s time for UPMC to rededicate itself to the charitable mission it has been entrusted with. That starts with renewing the Medicare Advantage contract and bringing a sense of security and stability to seniors and their health care." ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 9 – A bipartisan group of state legislators from western Pennsylvania released the following statement today in response to the announcement that UPMC does not intend to renew the Medicare Advantage contract with Highmark customers: "UPMC has broken its promise to seniors in western Pennsylvania. They made a promise to our seniors, and now they are purposely using our seniors to create leverage against Highmark to gain an advantage in a financial dispute. Their actions are unconscionable. UPMC was warned by the Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner and Secretary of Health that such tactics would constitute a breach of the carefully crafted consent decree. They disregarded that finding and are now sticking it to our seniors. Totally unacceptable," said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny. Rep. Jim Christiana, R-Beaver, said, "It’s truly unfortunate that the devious scare tactics and anti-patient behavior continue, this time at the expense of some of our most vulnerable citizens. UPMC is now threatening to hold hundreds of thousands of Highmark Medicare Advantage customers as hostages just to gain some legal standing. Rest assured, we will be monitoring this developing issue and will support our seniors in any way we can." House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said, "The communities that I represent are tired of being held hostage by the actions of UPMC, which continues Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, welcomed today's announcement that Gov. Wolf is transitioning from the Corbett administration's problem-plagued "Healthy PA" plan to a simple, federally funded Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act: "Governor Wolf's decision to pursue a clean Medicaid expansion is better for the health of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, and for addressing two major problems left by the Corbett administration -- Pennsylvania's rock-bottom ranking in job creation and the $2 billion budget deficit." ### Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today commended Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto for standing by the city's gun-safety laws in the face of a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association. Frankel strongly opposed the new state law that allows the NRA and other groups to sue Pennsylvania communities that have local ordinances requiring the reporting of lost or stolen guns. Some smaller communities have begun to repeal their ordinances rather than face legal bills from lawsuits by the NRA or other groups. "I commend Mayor Peduto for standing up for gun safety and common sense to protect Pittsburgh residents and visitors, and I hope he and the city council will continue to do so. I believe there is a good chance the new state law can be overturned in court as unconstitutional, and then an attempt at reviving it would have to get past Governor-elect Wolf instead of being rubber-stamped as Governor Corbett did last year," Frankel said. "The new legislature also needs to focus on top priorities, such as closing the $2 billion deficit Governor Corbett is leaving behind, restoring school funding and raising Pennsylvania from our dead-last rank in job creation. Wasting more time on special-interest legislation like what I call the ‘NRA Lawyer Employment Act’ would not help with any of those dire needs," Frankel added. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 13 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, has continued his efforts to build support for "patient trust" legislation, including speaking on the issue to a national doctors' organization last week. Frankel, co-chair of the legislature's Women's Health Caucus, spoke to the American Medical Association Friday in New Orleans about keeping politics out of the provider-patient relationship. His proposed Patient Trust Act would ban government entities from requiring providers to care for patients in a way that is not considered medically appropriate or forcing providers to tell patients anything that is not medically accurate. Frankel plans to reintroduce the bill, which was H.B. 2303 in the 2013-14 session. Frankel said, "Patients trust that their doctor is telling them the whole truth, and that their health is the doctor’s primary concern. We should protect that trust. Patients shouldn’t worry that they are on the receiving end of a political agenda when they go to the doctor." The legislation is in response to laws that have passed in several states, including Pennsylvania, that force providers to practice medicine in a way that is not in line with basic medical standards. Last year, the National Partnership for Women & Families detailed a number of problematic intrusions on medical decision-making in its report: "Bad Medicine: How a Political Agenda is Undermining Women’s Health Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, was sworn in today for a ninth term representing Pittsburgh's 23rd Legislative District. He is also serving for a third term as Democratic caucus chairman, the third-highest ranking member of the caucus leadership. "Pennsylvanians will expect the new legislature to work with Governor-elect Tom Wolf, whose term begins January 20, to address the serious challenges left from Governor Corbett's term, including a $2 billion deficit, the need to restore funding that was cut from K-12 and higher education and Pennsylvania's rock-bottom ranking in job creation. I and other Democrats stand ready to do our part to pass common-sense solutions that Pennsylvanians support, such as a reasonable tax on gas drilling," Frankel said. "Pennsylvanians will also expect bipartisan cooperation on important issues such as the continuing UPMC-Highmark dispute, other health care reform and transparency issues, equal protections for LGBT Pennsylvanians – including in the workplace -- and continued support for proactive women’s health initiatives," added Frankel, co-chair of the Women's Health Caucus. Frankel was first elected to the House in 1998. He previously served as chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation. As a legislator, he has championed numerous initiatives, such as increased funding for mass transit, community and economic development in Read more
Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll.
Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more
To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more
Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more
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