PA Supreme Court stops plan to close state health centers

They finally do something right:

Earlier this year, the administration of Republican PA Governor Tom Corbett announced a plan to close nearly half of the state’s health centers by the end of the summer. SEIU Healthcare PA and some Democratic members of the General Assembly challenged the plan’s constitutionality in court on the grounds that the executive doesn’t have the power to make that policy decision without the legislature, but a Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of the Corbett Administration, choosing not to stop the plan. The plan’s opponents appealed that ruling and now the highest court in the state, the PA Supreme Court, has ruled in their favor, temporarily halting the health center closings and asking for a speedy hearing on the issue. Many Pennsylvanians who would have lost their only means of accessing health care services are in luck – for now.

The Corbett Administration plan in question would close 26 of Pennsylvania’s 60 health centers, where people who are sick or injured but don’t have health insurance or the money to pay for the care they need out-of-pocket can go for some health care services, and eliminate 73 jobs in the PA Department of Health. Of course, the Corbett Administration says this will save over $3 million, but that isn’t the whole picture. As I pointed out when I wrote about this case when it was in Commonwealth Court earlier this year, community health nurse of Lebanon County Rosemary Birtsays:

For months we have been educating our lawmakers that the proposed savings from Governor Corbett’s plan does not justify the potential public health risk for communities across Pennsylvania. It could take as little as twelve cases of multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis to wipe out the three and a half million dollars Corbett claims we would save by closing these centers.