• Petitioned Representative Samuel Smith

This petition was delivered to:

Speaker of the House of Pennsylvania State Representatives
Representative Samuel Smith
Governor, State of Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Corbett
Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Welfare
Gary D. Alexander
Floor Leader of Pennsylvania State Representatives
Representative Mike Turzai

The Governor of PA: Do not implement copays on services for disabled children.

    1. Erin Gabriel
    2. Petition by

      Erin Gabriel

      Pittsburgh, PA

  1.  
  2.   
October 2012

Victory

From petition creator Erin Gabriel: "Thank you to everyone for all of your hard work and for adding your name to thousands of other who are standing up for our children. We raised our voices together, and we made a difference. The copayment initiative is being "delayed." This is a huge win for the children of Pennsylvania. We will still need to be vigilant, but for now, this is GREAT news. THANK YOU!!!! --Erin Harrisburg" Department of Public Welfare Secretary Gary D. Alexander today released a statement about the department’s co-payment initiative for families of eligible children with mental and physical disabilities. In his statement, Alexander said: “The department has always preferred the option of applying a premium to this program and will be working with stakeholders who have come to us in support of a premium as opposed to the co-payment. Therefore, we have decided to delay the co-payment initiative, and families will not owe a co-payment for any services until further notice. “Stakeholders have clearly indicated to the department an understanding of the need for families to contribute to this program. With the delay, there is an opportunity to work with stakeholders to continue to pursue the premium from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We look forward to working with them in achieving this shared goal. “Once a decision is reached, we will immediately inform any affected families.”

  Dear Governor Corbett, Secretary Alexander, and members of the legislature,       It was recently announced (http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol42/42-32/1551.html) that the state will institute copayments on medical services for children with disabilities this fall. In doing so you have taken direct aim at the disabled children in Pennsylvania with these budget cuts. By making drastic cuts to the Department of Welfare's budget, you will be forcing families to suddenly choose between the therapies that their disabled children need and the basic necessities of their family, such as food and shelter.     The Department of Welfare plans to implement copays on many services, although they remain unclear on exactly what services and how much the copays will be. What is clear is that the families they are targeting will now be forced to pay multiple payments for services that were previously covered. Even what may seem like a nominal copayment will add up significantly for families with multiple therapies, and in many cases multiple disabled children in the same household.  The end result will inevitably be many families stopping therapies for their children. This in and of itself may appear to be a cost saving benefit to you. However, the reality is quite different.  With the early therapies that these children could have otherwise received many would grow to become independent, tax-paying adults. Without these services, they are more likely to have more difficulties later on in life and will wind up costing the government even more money in the long run, through either disability payments or welfare payments, as they will not have the skills to secure employment and housing.  There are many, many other sources of revenue in this state, but Gov. Corbett has targeted the group that he thinks is least likely to fight back - the most vulnerable - children with disabilities. This needs to stop. We should be investing in these children, not attacking them.    This has in many ways become a personal attack against the most vulnerable of our society, disabled children.  If the DPW truly wants to save money on disability services, then they could consider enforcing the Act 62 Health Insurance reform law that requires private insurers to cover autism services. This would save dramatically more money than trying to balance the budget on the backs of our children. There are many, many other more realistic and humane proposals out there to save the state money while still allowing these children to receive the medically necessary treatment that they need.  I would also draw your attention to an article written by another autism advocate at the following link. It discusses what happens far too often in our society when we fail to provide adequate supports to the most vulnerable.   Support, by Jess Wilson http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jess-wilson/support_b_1321898.html     Thank you for your consideration.  

Recent signatures

    News

    1. We Won!

      Erin Gabriel
      Petition Organizer

      Gary Alexander announced today that the DPW is postponing the copayments indefinitely and that they are going to try to work something else out, such as a premium, paid upfront. This is likely far from over, but for now, we have accomplished our mission. Thank you for all your support! Our voices were heard, and you made a difference. Please take a moment to thank your legislators for their support as well.

      Erin

    2. Vote is Scheduled!!

      Erin Gabriel
      Petition Organizer

      HR 879 has been scheduled to go to the floor tomorrow for a vote. Call your legislators and make sure they support us! Thanks for all you do!
      Erin

    3. Reached 2,000 signatures
    4. Call Now!

      Erin Gabriel
      Petition Organizer

      Friends-
      We are starting to have an impact!
      Please call your legislators and ask them to support HR 879, proposed this morning by Rep DiGirolama (R) to postpone the implementation of copays until the finance committee can assess the impact it would have. For full details, go to pennautism.org

      Please call now!

      Thanks for all you do for our children.

      Erin

    5. Reached 1,500 signatures
    6. More Help is Needed!

      Erin Gabriel
      Petition Organizer

      Friends-
      Many parents of disabled children gathered in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg today to draw attention to this abuse of power. Copayment letters have been sent out to families. Unless we can get some serious help from the legislature or convince Gov. Corbett and Secretary Alexander to change their minds, these fees will start to be imposed on November 1 for families already receiving services, and as early as October 1 for families enrolling now. Please pass this on, wherever you can. Call your legislators, write letters to the editors. We need to put some pressure on the DPW to stop this abuse. An alternate proposal has found that the state could save millions more just by enforcing the Act 62 Insurance Laws that are already on the books.

      If you would like to help deliver this petition, let me know. I can even email you a printable file that you can print out and give to your representatives.
      Thanks for all you do!
      Erin

    7. Reached 1,000 signatures
    8. Pass It On!

      Erin Gabriel
      Petition Organizer

      Hi everyone! Thanks so much for signing the petition. Te bst way to keep up the pressure is to pass this on to your friends and family, and anyone who might be willing to help.

      But don't stop there. If you can, try to contact your local legislators, and write your own letters to the Department of Welfare. They need to hear the stories of real people, and real voters. Explain how this will affect you - as a parent, as an advocate, as a therapist, and most importantly how it will affect these children, and how the state will wind up paying even more in the long run for adult services, such as welfare, disability, housing, and unemployment.

      Thank you all ao much for takng the time to protect our children.

      Erin

    9. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • gary edmiston MOUNT JOY, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      i have many friends with children that this would greatly affect

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Wendie Mancuso CAMP HILL, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      My son will lose ALL of his services, we can not afford to pay this. I stay home to help my son and we can't pay the bills we have let alone anoth

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tony Rusnak GREENFIELD TOWNSHIP, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      My Daughter has a disability. Parents are alreadying payng extra for other services and needs and will continue to pay throughout their future. It is already emotional please don't add to the stress by adding a financial burden to these children and their families.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Vincent Harper HARRISBURG, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      I have been a special educator for 15 years and understand the unique needs of many of our special needs population. The needs of many of these persons can be extreme and costly to individuals supporting them. Often times there may be more than one child in need of services per family and the cost of any copay for these services could make many of them out of reach to assist and support special needs populations. My child also is a special needs person and may require costly services to support him throughout his life.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Cindy Dohanic ERIE, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      I work with families who have emotionally disturbed children and without our service, Family Based Mental Health, these families will not have the opportunity to become healthy and vibrant members of our community. With a co-pay for some of these families, they could not afford the help.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.