Monday, December 20, 2010

My Holiday Wish

Happy Holidays Everyone! No matter what holiday you celebrate, I'm wishing you peace and good cheer!

During this holiday season, I'm hoping my friends and family will join me to raise $500 for the Pennsylvania NOW Education Fund. It's a great cause that works for equality, economic justice and civil rights for all.  If you are on Facebook you can donate here.  If you don't use Facebook, you can donate by credit card on our website.  Or you can write out a check to the "Pennsylvania NOW Education Fund" and mail it to

PA NOW Education Fund
P.O. Box 68
Bellefonte, PA 16823

I chose Pennsylvania NOW Education Fund because we can never stop working to make sure that women and children have a stable foundation on which to build their lives.

Please consider giving to my Holiday Wish, and together we can make the world a better place. If you can't afford to donate, I'd really appreciate if you'd share this page with your friends.

Thanks so much!  And HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


P.S. Again here's where you can donate:
Pennsylvania NOW Education Fund
P.O. Box 68
Bellefonte, PA 16823-0068

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Letter to Governor-Elect Tom Corbett to Prevent 43,000 Pennsylvanians from Losing Their Health Insurance

AdultBasic is the state's health care insurance program for low-income working adults who do not have employer-based health insurance and can not afford the cost of individual private insurance.  This program is funded by a combination of tobacco settlement funds and an agreed-upon assessment of the four Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans in Pennsylvania. 

The negotiated assessment between Pennsylvania's executive branch and the Blues was supposed to last through June 2011, but the Blues are now indicating that the funds will no longer be available after February 28, 2011.  As a result the state is warning recepients of AdultBasic that their health insurance may be ending at the end of February unless Governor-elect Corbett negotiates a new deal with the Blues.  Here's the warning about the problem that is posted on the Pennsyvania Insurance Department website:
ALERT: adultBasic coverage may expire February 2011.

The adultBasic insurance program does not have funding to provide coverage to enrollees beyond February 28, 2011. The program had hoped to secure enough funding to provide coverage through June 2011. That has not occurred. It is possible that additional funding will become available but none has been identified.

That means that adultBasic enrollees and those on the waitlist who have been paying for the coverage will not have coverage beyond February 28, 2011. People with adultBasic coverage who have health services scheduled beyond February 2011 should discuss with their health care providers whether any of the health services scheduled after February 28, 2011 could be appropriately rescheduled to be provided before their adultBasic coverage ends.

Enrollees should watch their mail. If no further funding is identified, coverage termination notices will be sent out in January 2011. Insurance company contractors would have no further information at this time. Any updates about the funding for adultBasic will be posted on the Insurance Department’s website....
As a result of this problem, Pennsylvania NOW, along with more than 200 other Pennsylvania organizations and concerned residents have signed a letter calling on Governor-elect Tom Corbett to preserve health coverage for the 43,000 Pennsylvanians enrolled in the state's adultBasic program.  The letter was created by the PA Budget and Policy Center and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network and was sent to Governor-elect Corbett on December 7. Here's the letter:

December 7, 2010

Hon. Tom Corbett, Governor-elect
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
200 North Third St. 3rd Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Dear Governor-elect Corbett:

We write to draw your attention to an urgent problem facing your incoming administration. As you know, the adultBasic insurance program, which provides affordable health insurance to 43,000 Pennsylvanians, was slated to receive interim funding through June 2011. That funding, an extension of the negotiated Community Health Reinvestment Agreements (CHR) with the Commonwealth’s four Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans, has fallen short of the negotiated commitment, leaving the program in danger of running out of funds as soon as February.

Without swift action, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will find themselves without affordable health care. Moreover, these Pennsylvanians will have as little as 30 days to make alternative insurance arrangements. This is clearly unacceptable.

You have said your goal is to preserve insurance for 90% of Pennsylvanians who have it. We urge you to keep this pledge and take action to preserve insurance coverage for adultBasic participants.

We ask that you call together the representatives of the Blue Cross plans to secure their commitment to funding the program at the current enrollment levels through June. In addition, we would like to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss options to preserve adultBasic through 2014.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you to resolve this urgent and important problem.


Sharon Ward, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Antoinette Kraus, Pennsylvania Health Access Network

Elsie Tarr, AARP, Mifflinburg
Barbara Dively, Acquired Brain Injury Network of Pennsylvania Inc., Lansdale
Lucille Prater Holliday, President, ACTION United of Pennsylvania
Fred Jones, Action United, Philadelphia
Larry Rubin, Adults with Developmental Disabilities, Jenkintown
Dianne Oswald, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Cheltenham
John Turchi, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia
Margaret Nicholson, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia
Alicia Colon, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia
John Kelly, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia
Dan Keating, Brain Injury Association of PA, Downingtown
Craig Stevens, Black and White Reunion, Pittsburgh
Becca Raley, Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation, Carlisle
Larry Rankin, MD, Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation, Carlisle
Janet Filante, Childspace Cooperative Development Inc., Philadelphia
Rev. Thomas Reeder, Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Williamsport
Susan Moore, Community Action Association of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
Elisabeth Foringer, Community Health Clinic of Butler County, Butler
Jonathan Stein, Community Legal Services Inc., Philadelphia
Richard Weishaupt, Community Legal Services Inc., Philadelphia
Beth Heeb, Consumer Health Coalition, Pittsburgh
Alicia Dallago, Board Member, Crisis Center North, Pittsburgh
Jean Searle, Disability Rights Network, Philadelphia
Carol Horowitz, Managing Attorney, Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania
Cheryl Feldman, District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Philadelphia
Latanya Sanders, District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Philadelphia
Susan B. Thomas, District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Philadelphia
Dora Martinez-Armstrong, Early Head Start, Philadelphia
Mary Ann Bentz, FLOC - For Love Of Children, Lower Bucks County, Morrisville
Elaine Jones, Chair, Gettysburg Area Democracy for America
Lorretta Reed, Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh
Carey Morgan, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, Philadelphia
Peter Javsicas, Green Party, Philadelphia
Mary McMahon, Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, Yardley
Kristy Adams, HAVIN (Helping All Victims In Need), Kittanning
Suzanne Cohen, Health Federation of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
Lynne Powell, Horizon House, Chester
Dave Wooledge, Housing Support Team Leader, Mental Health Association of Northwest Pennsylvania
Kristian Smith, Impact Systems Inc., West Chester
Thomas Slater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Penn Hills
David Toomey, Jessica and Friends Community, York
Jay Spector, JEVS Human Services, Philadelphia
Iris Vazquez, Jewish Employment Vocational Services – JEVS Human Services, Philadelphia
Lisa Morgan, Jewish Family Service, Wilkes-Barre
Rochelle Jackson, Just Harvest, Pittsburgh
Susan Clauser, Keystone Opportunity Center, Souderton
Michael Morrill, Keystone Progress, Harrisburg
Wanda Mata, LC Government Center, Allentown
Vivienne Spector, League of Women Voters of Abington-Cheltenham-Jenkintown
Andrew Winiarczyk, Liberty Books, Williamsport
Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
Letty Thall, Maternity Care Coalition, Philadelphia
Mary Jane Morrison, Maternity Care Coalition, Wayne
Andy McPhee, Maternity Care Coalition, Warrington
Brenda Lee, President and CEO, Mental Health America Allegheny County, Pittsburgh
William Grove, Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Erie
Carla Tomes, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Scott Geryk, RN, BSN, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Norristown
Gertrude and Roger Gobbel, Mohler Center, Palmyra
Sharon Miller, Monroe County AAA, Stroudsburg
Gretchen Heacock, MossRehab - Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia
Wilma Dorman, Occupational Therapy Resources, Inc., Plymouth Meeting
Dolores Magro, PA Breast Cancer Coalition, Clifton Heights
Diana L. Ames, PA Coalition to End Homelessness, Erie
Laval Miller-Wilson, PA Health Law Project, Philadelphia
Andrea Imperatore, PA Public Health Association, Wyndmoor
Rev. Charles Mercer, Pastor Emeritus, Picture Rocks Baptist Church, Picture Rocks
Rev. Robert A. Wilson, Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
Carol Goertzel, PathWays PA, Holmes
Marc Stier, Penn Action,
Jane Keller, Pennsdale Friends' Meeting, Pennsdale
Jean Friday, President, Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans
Denise Cressman, Pennsylvania Home-based Child Care Providers Association, Danville
Joanne Tosti-Vasey, Pennsylvania NOW Inc. [emphasis added]
Thomas DeWall, Pennsylvania Psychological Association, Harrisburg
Ellen Tierney, Pennsylvania TASH, Pittsburgh
John Dodds, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Philadelphia
Gloria Gilman, Philly Neighborhood Networks, Philadelphia
Robert C. Settle Jr., SEIU/PSSU 668, Lancaster
Karen Snider, Susquehanna Consulting & Financial Group, Harrisburg
Linda Herr, The Learning Center, Williamsport
Teresa Wilkes, UCP South Central, New Oxford
Stephen Drachler, United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
Donna Burkharrt, United Methodist Women, Erie
Dana Bauer, United Way of Westmoreland County, Greensburg
Joyce Blackburn, Washington Communities MH/MR, Washington
Maryrose Myrtetus, Women Against Abuse, Philadelphia
Jodi Hirsh, Executive Director, National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section
Richard Chevrefils, State Director, AARP Pennsylvania
Michael Drohan, Board President, Thomas Merton Center
Joe Delale, Co-Chair, Pittsburgh Labor and Religion Coalition
Father Jack O'Malley, Association of Pittsburgh Priests
Barney Oursler, Executive Director, Pittsburgh UNITED
Father Garrett Dorsey, Administrator, St. Ursula Parish, Allison Park
James McCue, Hazelwood Initiative
Laurie Barnett-Levine, Westmoreland County Mental Health America
Katharine Fitzgerald Bulova, Pittsburgh Caregiver Support Network
Ken Regal, Co-Director, Just Harvest
Ray Landis, AARP PA
Rev/ Dr. Randy Bush, East Liberty Presbyterian Church
Rev. Gretchen Hulse, New Hope
Keri Harmicar, Northside Leadership Conference
Christine Michaels, Nami Southwestern PA
Stanley Holbrook, Three Rivers Center for Independent Living
Cynthia Salter, Program Director, Birth Circle
Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel, Executive Director, Aleph Institute
Joe Angelelli, PA State Director, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute
Al Condeluci, Executive Director, Pittsburgh United Cerebral Palsy/Class
Mary Herbert, MS, MPH, Clinical Director and Thuy Bui, MD, Medical Director, Birmingham Free Clinic
Rev. David Keller, South Avenue United Methodist Church
Joyce Kane, Cybertery Pittsburgh
Antonio Lodico, Co-Coordinator, Mon Valley Unemployed Committee
Bruce Smith, Executive Director, United Way of Beaver County
Rachel Kallem, President, PA Youth Leadership Network
Guinevere Gregory and Joan Bradley, Pittsburgh District United Methodist Women
Rev. Ron Hoellein, St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Andrea Fox, MD, Medical Director, Squirrel Hill Health Center

Kathi Boyle, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force
Donna Burkhart, President, and Gail Grey, Western PA Conference for United Methodist Women
Rev. Jeff Conn, First United Methodist Church, Canonsburg
Brenda Lee, Allegheny County Mental Health America
Rev. Ed Myers, Freeport United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Debra Rogosky, Falls Creek United Methodist Church
Democracy for America, Pittsburgh
La Comunidad Hispana Community Center, Kennett Square
Montgomery County Democracy for America
John Ascenzi, Philadelphia
Linda Baker (Parent of a disabled adult), Bloomsburg
Eve Barnett, Philadelphia
Rachel Baron, Pittsburgh
Dr. Jill Bartoli, Carlisle
Bette Begleiter, Philadelphia
Laurie Bernstein, Swarthmore
Jo Ellen Bowman, Kittanning
Dona Carter, New Providence
Julie Cecchini, Pittsburgh
James Centner, Pittsburgh
Esther Chung, Swarthmore
Guadalupe Cintron, Norristown
Grace Coleman, Pittsburgh
Larry Coleman, Harrisburg
Paul Coleman, Lewisburg
Beth Crofutt, Apollo
Cheryl Dougan (Parent of child with severe disabilities), Bethlehem
Edward Engelfried, Philadelphia
Evelyn Eskin, Philadelphia
Linda Esposito, McMurray
Frank Esposito, Finleyville
Eduardo Esquivel, Philadelphia
Madeline Frith, Philadelphia
Tom Gemmill, Lancaster
Gaynell Gillespie, Philadelphia
Janet Golden, Bala Cynwyd
Marjorie Goldman, Bala Cynwyd
Mary R. Green, Philadelphia
Michael Gross, Hughesville
Christine Haas, Pittsburgh
Dennis Hill, Manheim
Andrew Holup, Grindstone
Meredith Huffman, Malvern
Patricia Hunter, Easton
Fred Jones, Philadelphia
Trieste Kennedy (Parent of young adult with a disability), Allentown
Megan Kiesel, Philadelphia
Anita Kulick, Dresher
Nicole Leapheart, Philadelphia
Marcia Lehman, Ambridge
Mary Catherine Lowery, Norristown
Paul Lubold, Pittsburgh
Cathy Markey, Philadelphia
Colleen McCauley, Philadelphia
Charlie McNutt, Mechanicsburg
Bonnie Mease, Lebanon
Maria Muzzie, Carnegie
Regina Oboler, Jeffersonville
Michael Ostroski, Upland
Valerie Owes, Philadelphia
Denise Patterson, Monroeville
Jenny Perez, Philadelphia
Deborah Ravacon, Fort Washington
Jay Roach, New Castle
Pamela Rockwell, Royersford
Mary Rossi, West Chester
Ed Schoenedck, Johnstown
David Schogel, Philadelphia
Dorene Schutz, Wilkes-Barre
Mervin Shaffer, New Cumberland
Roger Shipley, Professor Emeritus of Art, Lycoming College
Donya Smith, Brownsville
Anne Smith, Ambler
Timothy Snyder (Farmer), Slippery Rock
Kristen Sontag, Pittsburgh
Sue Spencer, Philadelphia
Christine Stone, Pittsburgh
Jeannine Stuart, Malvern
Keith Vanderlin, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design/Photography, Penn College of Technology
Felice Wiener, Wynnewood
Katee Yorke, Media
Elisa Zaehringer, Bethlehem
Kim Marie Zubritsky, Greensburg

Brian Nutt
Leslie Gromis-Baker
Tom Paese
David Simon
Hon. Donald White
Hon. Michael Stack
Hon. Anthony DeLuca
Hon. Nicholas Micozzi


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What’s Next for Pennsylvania: A Public Forum on the Health and Well-Being of Women and Families

Hosted by Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern PA, a project of WOMEN’S WAY, and WHYY

Please join Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania and WHYY for a critical dialogue with your elected officials on women’s health care needs as the health care reform law is implemented in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 from 5:30 - 8:00 PM
Networking: 5:30 - 6:00 PM
Program: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

WHYY’s Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons
150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA

* Light refreshments will be served*

All state legislators, including newly elected legislators, from Southeastern Pennsylvania as well as the Governor-Elect have been invited to speak and answer questions from the audience. You will have the chance to hear directly from those making important decisions about what to expect in the coming years as this important law is implemented.

Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a coalition led by WOMEN’S WAY which was formed to ensure that women’s concerns were addressed during the health care reform process. The coalition includes both Bucks County NOW and Philadelphia NOW. Our coalition advocates for health care reform implementation policies that support the full range of comprehensive reproductive health care services for women. While women gained many wonderful benefits under the new health care reform law, they also lost and have the potential to loose even more benefits, especially reproductive health care rights.

Come out and let legislators know what is important to YOU as they move forward in implementing health care reform!

For questions or additional information about the event, please contact Kate Scully at

Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania c/o WOMEN’S WAY, 123 South Broad Street, Suite 1399 * Philadelphia, PA 19109 * 215-985-3322 * f: 215-985-3369 *

Raising Women's Voices Coalition Members include: African Family Health Organization * Black Women’s Health Alliance * Bucks County National Organization for Women * ACLU of Pennsylvania- Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project * Cherry Hill Women’s Center * Coalition of Labor Union Women * Family Planning Council * Health Care for America Now * HepTREC * League of Women Voters of Philadelphia * Lutheran Settlement House * Maternal and Child Health Consortium in Chester County * Maternity Care Coalition * Medical Students for Choice * Nancy’s House * Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Omega Omega Chapter. * PathWays PA * Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO * Philadelphia National Organization for Women * Philadelphia Nurse Family Partnership * Philadelphia Women’s Center * Planned Parenthood Bucks County * Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania * Women’s Law Project * Women’s Medical Fund * WOMEN’S WAY

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Still Time to Call and Protect Social Security

The Fiscal Commission has delayed their vote on the debt reduction plan that currently contains several ways to gut Social Security.  Their plan includes raising the retirement age to 69, cutting the annual COLA (Cost-of-Living-Allowance), and cutting benefits overall for middle-income earners by 17% to 36%.

The Strengthen Social Security Campaign - the national coalition working to protect Social Security that Pennsylvania NOW is part of - sent out a notice this morning extending the time to call the US Senate due to this delay.  Here's the message:
We slammed the phones on Capitol Hill yesterday [November 30] thanks to your help. In fact, we overloaded the Capitol Switchboard and the phones went down.
Tens of thousands delivered the message: Hands Off Our Social Security! Members of Congress even called our offices and those of our allies to say that they were hearing the calls loud and clear.
The Fiscal Commission was supposed to vote today on a plan to slash Social Security benefits. But they’re still trying to round up the votes. The vote is now scheduled for Friday.
So you have time to call your U.S. Senators TODAY [December 1] and THURSDAY [December 2] to make your voice heard. Please call 1-866-529-7630 now.
We know many of you called yesterday but could not get through to the offices because the switchboards were jammed. So please try again TODAY.
Call 1-866-529-7630 right now. There will be less phone traffic today, which should allow you to get through.
We can beat these guys. That’s why we will continue fighting all week against the Fiscal Commission. They released their new proposal for slashing Social Security benefits this morning. Once again it disregards the will of the American people. Their plan will raise the retirement age to 69, cut the annual COLA, and cut benefits overall for middle-income earners by 17% to 36%.

We’ll send you a wrap-up on all your great work on Friday. Call your senators right now at 1-866-529-7630.

Thanks for taking action,

The Strengthen Social Security Campaign Team
PS: Call your Senators and invite your friends to call, too. The number is 1-866-529-7630