Unemployed Pennsylvanians on Medicaid could lose health coverage under proposed bill

From TribLive.com: (Click here to view original April 17, 2018 article). The state House on Tuesday advanced a bill that would force “able-bodied” adults enrolled in Medicaid to work at least 20 hours a week or complete job training programs to retain their health insurance coverage. The proposed legislation — House Bill 2138 — cleared the House floor on a 115-80 vote. All but five Republicans and just four Democrats voted to send it to the state Senate. Its prime sponsor, Fayette County Republican Matthew Dowling, touted the bill as a way “to help people out of poverty and reliance on the government for aid.” But critics — including health care patient advocates and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf — dismiss the effort as a President Trump-backed attempt by a growing number of GOP legislature-controlled states to scale back on Medicaid programs as federal attempts have faltered to repeal the Affordable Care Act altogether. “We’re calling on the Senate to reject the efforts put forward by the House today, and we’re calling on Gov. Wolf to once again veto legislation that would do more harm to individuals than it would to help them,” said Antoinette Krause, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Network Access advocacy group in Philadelphia. “Instead of spending millions of dollars in state resources to throw people off health insurance coverage, lawmakers should be looking for ways to reduce barriers to employment, especially in rural areas outside of Pittsburgh.” Wolf did not go so far as to say he would veto H.B. 2138, but he said through a spokesman Tuesday night that he opposes the bill and...

Sinclair Broadcast Group Forces Local TV Anchors To Recite Right-Leaning Script

In March, CNN reported that news anchors across the country were infuriated by being forced to read a mandatory script that many felt was a thinly veiled piece of pro-Trump propaganda. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns about 175 television stations in 80 media markets across the United States, mandated the reading of an on-air script that, according to multiple news reports (such as this from the New York Times), “included a warning about fake news, a promise to report fairly and accurately and a request that viewers go to the station’s website and comment ‘if you believe our coverage is unfair.'” Continues the Times, “It may not have seemed strange to individual viewers. But Timothy Burke, the video director at Deadspin, had read a report last monthfrom CNN, which quoted local station anchors who were uncomfortable with the speech. Mr. Burke tracked down the Sinclair affiliates and found when they had aired what he called a ‘forced read.’ Then he stitched together the various broadcasts to create a supercut of anchors eerily echoing the same lines: ‘The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.’ ‘Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias.’ ‘This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.'”  The mandate about the forced reading has since gone viral. Viewers in the Philadelphia region might not be aware of it because Sinclair doesn’t own any of our local stations, but the company does own stations in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Altoona, and Pittsburgh. Sinclair-owned stations cover a variety of affiliates, including all the major networks. Read the entire NY...

Spotlight On Upper Merion’s Progress, Q1 2018

From Supervisor Greg Waks, here is the quarterly update of all the progress being made in Upper Merion: Every quarter I post a list of many of the redevelopments approved in Upper Merion Township as well as some planned infrastructure improvements and some restaurant and store openings. This is by no means an all-encompassing list. The list also includes locations and/or the most recent information I have about potential opening dates though dates are always subject to change. • Keystone Shops medical marijuana dispensary (Hansen Access Road and S. Henderson Road) – Spring 2018 • Upper Merion Community Garden groundbreaking (Corner of Henderson and Ross Road) – Spring 2018 • J. Alexander’s restaurant (former site of LA Fitness on Mall Blvd) – Spring/Summer 2018 • First Avenue Road Diet with bike lanes and sidewalks- late Spring/Summer 2018 • Eddie V’s restaurant (pad in front of the King of Prussia Mall) – Summer 2018 • Workhorse Brewing Co. (King Manor) – Summer 2018 • North Italia restaurant (in the King of Prussia Mall) – Summer 2018 • Caley Elementary School – August 2018 • Gulph Elementary School – August 2018 • The Brownstones at the Village at Valley Forge by Toll Brothers- 132 stacked townhomes (Village at Valley Forge/former golf course in accordance with the terms of the settlement of the golf course litigation) – 1/3rd is already completed and occupied, other units completed 2018-2021 • Dredging of the stormwater retention basin (aka the pond) at the Township Building Park – 2018 • Construction of a dog park – 2018 • Park Square (aka Bentley) – (311 high end apartments...

Montgomery County Commissioners: State Of The County Is Strong

From the Times Herald, 2/15/2018: NORRISTOWN >> The state of Montgomery County is strong. That was the prevailing message the county commissioners relayed in their annual state of the county presentations at Thursday’s meeting at One Montgomery Plaza. Commission Chair Dr. Val Arkoosh began the address by explaining the county’s metrics for success: a vibrant economy, healthy communities and the effectiveness with which the county meets the needs of its citizens. She began by harkening back to 2012, when the county faced a $10 million budget deficit, was making no payments to the pension fund, and had a depleted reserve fund. Now, Arkoosh said, the county is on “strong financial footing” through the administration’s focus on strategic fiscal management. “Fund reserves increased 70 percent over the past four years to $57 million. The general fund finished with four consecutive surplus years, and the 2018 projected surplus is $3.8 million,” she reported. Arkoosh said the county has contributed $9 million annually to the pension fund in recent years and has a reserve fund of a “healthy” 15 percent. “We’ve accomplished this while maintaining the lowest property tax rate among the four counties surrounding Philadelphia,” asserted Arkoosh, adding that the stable and growing economy led Moody’s Investors Services to bestow a AA1 bond rating and upgrade the county’s outlook to “positive.” Adding to the strong state of the county is the relatively low unemployment rate, which sits below the state and national averages, and the county’s growing population, a development Arkoosh attributed to burgeoning economic opportunities and the high quality of life enjoyed by county residents. Arkoosh made special mention of the...

The Times Herald Our Readers Say: Current Upper Merion Supervisors worthy of re-election

From timesherald.com 10/28/15 As an Upper Merion resident for more than 30 years and someone who has served as an elected committeeperson for both the Republican and Democratic Parties, I have known every single supervisor over the last quarter of a century. This year I am honored to be supporting the re-election of Greg Waks and Bill Jenaway. Greg and Bill’s achievements are unsurpassed. They have greatly improved our local economy and township taxes have not increased in six years – the longest stretch in recent Upper Merion history. In addition, they resolved decades long litigation against the township, thereby saving millions of taxpayer dollars. Our infrastructure has also improved with a new community and senior center on the way, a public pool, a trail from Heuser Park to Valley Forge and they have passed key ordinances to improve quality of life. Bill and Greg are succeeding in bringing senior housing to Upper Merion, reviving the business park and they created a scholarship program. Under their leadership, public safety and traffic mitigation issues have taken precedence like never before. Equally as important, the culture of the board of supervisors is vastly improved. The petty bickering between Supervisors has ended and both the township and supervisors frequently reach out to residents. Also the board’s relationship with the school district is vastly improved and residents who show up at board meetings are treated with respect and political affiliation is no longer a consideration for appointments to citizen boards. These accomplishments and many others have been widely recognized. Read More at...

The Times Herald “Our Readers Say”: Upper Merion candidate’s behavior questionable

From TimesHerald.com, October 22 2015 After attending the “Meet the Candidates” forum at the Upper Merion Senior Service Center on Monday October 5th, I was very concerned and disappointed by some of the things incumbent Judge Bill Maruszczak had to say, and the way he conducted himself as a candidate. During the debate, which is available to watch online, Maruszczak lost his temper and interrupted his opponent, Ian Kingsley, when Mr. Kingsley mentioned a recent state audit that found problems with Maruszczak’s court management. Maruszczak was the only candidate to interrupt anyone during the debate all day. Maruszczak interrupted Kingsley to say “that’s not accurate.” Maruszczak also went on to say all of his audits were “basically perfect.” I looked into this and discovered the 2014 state audit did find “significant deficiencies” and “material weaknesses” in Maruszczak’s management of the court, which is obviously a concern. However, even more troubling than the audit itself and Maruszczak’s lack of accountability, is what he said next…Maruszczak contended he would continue to serve as District Judge until he decides to retire. Then, during closing, Maruszczak said “maybe Mr. Kingsley can run in 20 years when I decide to retire.” Maruszczak has been in office so long that he doesn’t even think the voters have a choice anymore. This sense of entitlement is appalling. Fortunately, we do have a choice for District Judge on November 3rd, and that choice is clearly Ian T. Kingsley, Esq. – Diane Reilly , King of...