Here’s what the budget signed by Pennsylvania’s own Scott Walker just did to our state’s neediest and most vulnerable: Kicking sick and dying kids off Medicaid, and cutting general assistance. He considers himself a good Catholic. Personally, I think Jesus would be disgusted:
“On Sunday, nearly 70,000 Pennsylvanians with disabilities will lose their sole source of income overnight,” legal aid lawyer Michael Froehlich of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia told me yesterday.
The sudden elimination of the “safety net of last resort”—the General Assistance (GA) program—is especially troubling when one considers who is currently eligible for it: disabled or sick adults without children; domestic violence survivors, many of whom have just fled abusers (lifetime benefit capped at nine months); adults participating in alcohol and other drug treatment programs (also capped at nine months); adults caring for someone sick or disabled, or an unrelated child; and children living with an unrelated adult.
In all, over 90 percent of recipients are temporarily or permanently disabled. The 68,000 people in the program—or just about one in every 200 residents—receive approximately $205 per month. Those funds enable many people to rent a room, pay for transportation to needed appointments, cover co-pays, or escape abuse. DPW estimates that eliminating the GA program will save the state $150 million annually.
Enough money to give a huge tax break to an energy company, but not enough to help the neediest.