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Medicaid Reform Legislation Could Save Taxpayers Billions
Medicaid is one of the biggest cost-drivers in the budget, accounting for more than $28 billion in annual spending. The recent expansion of the program will cost taxpayers an addition $4.6 billion, and the federal government has already informed Pennsylvania policymakers that this burden will be shifted to the state over the next several years. The problem is compounded by the fact that these increased costs are not translating to better care. Essentially, we are paying an ever-increasing amount of money for a program that is not yielding better results.
I recently introduced legislation that would help reduce costs to taxpayers, while at the same time improving health outcomes. The bill would allow patients and health care providers to use new technology to improve treatment options, reduce the time it takes for new advances to become common practice which currently ranges from 7 to 17 years, reduce medical errors and misdiagnosis rates that studies suggest are as high as 50 percent and eliminate many unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions. The net result should be more efficient and effective care for patients at a reduced cost to taxpayers.
A similar model in Alaska helped reduce misdiagnosis rates, improve patient care, eliminate waste and cut Medicare costs by 14 percent. It is estimated that a similar program in Pennsylvania could generate between $2 billion and $4 billion in annual savings.
As lawmakers continue to grapple with painful budget deficits, it is critical to explore every avenue to save taxpayer dollars and deliver services more efficiently and effectively. More information about my bill is available in an op-ed I submitted to newspapers across the state last week. Additional details will be available on my website at www.senatorscottmartinpa.com.
The Senate Majority Policy Committee held a hearing at my request recently to learn more about what the state can do to deal with the increasing cost of Medicaid.
New Outreach Events Scheduled
Meeting constituents and listening to their concerns is a critical part of the job for all elected officials. Over the next several weeks, I look forward to talking to community residents and hearing their perspectives on local and state issues during a live telephone town hall event on April 19 from 6-7 p.m.
Registration for the telephone town hall is available now at www.senatorscottmartinpa.com/tele-town-hall.
In addition, I look forward to hosting an open house at my district office in Lancaster on May 3 and a town hall event with Representative Bryan Cutler on May 15, as well as Coffee and Conversation events in May and June.
A complete list of local outreach events is available on my website at www.senatorscottmartinpa.com by clicking on the Upcoming Events link.
Thank you to the Lancaster YMCA daycare center for inviting me to read to your preschool class. I enjoyed meeting such a great group of kids.
Legislation Would Aid Job Training for Skilled Labor Positions
Training for many skilled labor positions is accomplished through the use of apprentice programs in which new employees are supervised by experienced workers. Although the federal government only mandates a ratio of one experienced journeyman worker per apprentice, Pennsylvania’s antiquated regulatory environment requires a much higher ratio. In fact, non-unionized workshops are required by law to use four experienced employees for the supervision of each new trainee, while union workshops are permitted to use one experienced employee per trainee. This legislation would drive down costs and create an equal playing field.
Current state laws make it more difficult for job creators to hire and train new workers. In order to ease this regulatory burden and help reinvigorate the workforce in affected industries, I recently introduced a bill that would establish a one-to-one ratio of journeymen to apprentices. I am hopeful this bill will help break down the barriers to job creation and help ease the growing demand for skilled workers.
For more information on issues of importance to Pennsylvania, please visit my website at senatorscottmartinpa.com.