Help available for uninsured adults

Pennsylvania’s health plan for uninsured adults with pre-existing medical conditions, PA Fair Care, is now taking applications.

Benefits will include preventive care, physician services, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, mental health services and prescriptions. The cost to enrollees is a subsidized premium of $283.20 a month.

To be eligible for PA Fair Care, applicants must:
• Be a U.S. citizen or lawful resident
• Be a Pennsylvania resident
• Have a pre-existing health condition
• Be uninsured for the previous six months

The program has initial funding to serve about 3,500 people. Eligible applicants will be enrolled on a first-come basis.

Applications can be completed online at Those without Internet access may apply with assistance from the toll-free helpline at 1-888-767-7015 (TTY 1-888-767-7018) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

As always, please contact me if I can be of assistance with any state-related issue.

Port Authority budget shortfall worries

(a guest post by Patrick Singleton, Polish Hill resident and member of the Allegheny County Transit Council)

As you may have read in a recent Post-Gazette article, the Port Authority could face a big deficit in their operating budget for this coming year.  A large portion of the approximately $50 million dollar deficit is a direct result of the federal government’s rejection of Pennsylvania’s application to toll Interstate 80, the cornerstone of the 2007 transportation funding bill known as Act 44, and a decision that affects money for transportation of all kinds, not just transit.

The Governor has called a special legislative session to address transportation funding, but the legislature also has to deal with larger budget issues, not just in transportation.  Although the Port Authority’s Steve Bland has warned of “draconian” cuts under the worst case scenario, it is important to remember that they have not yet outlined what those cuts may be, nor can they tell how severe they may be.  It all depends on what the legislature does to solve the problem.

So what should a concerned citizen do?  The best option may be to contact your state senator and representative, tell them how important transit is to your life and well-being, and urge them to come up with a solid funding source for transportation, now!

Alternatively, do you have a brilliant idea about how to fund transportation, or would you just like to learn more about the issue?  Representative Joe Marcosek of the House Transportation Committee is holding public hearings to learn more about and gather suggestions for solving the transportation funding crisis.  The hearings are being held across the state; the nearest upcoming meeting is at 11am on Friday June 18th at Gateway High School in Monroeville.

Property Tax and Rent Rebate program

Deadlines roll around fast sometimes. So, put this on your calendar and be sure to forward it on to anybody that might fit the program —

The deadline for the PA-1000 Property Tax and Rent Rebate programs (download form) is June 30th. In many previous years the governor has extended the deadline, but it is not a guarantee. You may want to remind your neighbors of this info so they can be sure to send it into the state on time. More info is below.

Senator Jim Ferlo’s Lawrenceville district office is currently offering assistance with Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate applications. The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2008 is June 30, 2009. Please call 412-621-3006 with any questions or visit the office, which is located at 3519 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.