PA Women’s Health Caucus Responds to Governor Tom Wolf’s Budget Address
HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 -- The co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus (WHC) applaud Governor Tom Wolf for his budget proposal that utilizes the nearly $6 billion budget surplus and puts Pennsylvania on the path to make historic investments in education, criminal justice, and public health.
The WHC said it is proud to see numerous proposals related to the health and wellness of women and families across the Commonwealth, specifically:
- $8 million to extend postpartum coverage for birthing parents eligible for Medical Assistance to 12 months.
- $15 million, a 77% increase, to implement additional evidence-based home visiting and family support services to 3,800 additional families across the Commonwealth.
- $1.2 million to add postpartum depression as an eligible tracking category for early identification of need for early intervention services.
- $500,000, a 50% increase, to support “It’s On Us PA”, which promotes healthy relationships and protects students from sexual violence.
- $30 million to fund two new childcare options for state employees.
- $1 million for reentry services to women.
- Increase in the minimum wage: proposing an increase to $12 an hour effective July 1, 2022, with an annual increase of 50 cents until it reaches $15 in 2028.
“I’m thrilled to see many proposals geared towards expanding healthcare coverage, increasing access to childcare, and broadening evidence-based home visiting,” said Senator Amanda Cappelletti, WHC co-chair, (D-Montgomery/Delaware). “While these plans are a step in the right direction, our Caucus will be fighting to eliminate using taxpayer dollars to fund anti-abortion centers, which are proven to use deceptive practices to trick people into carrying their pregnancies to term. This funding is an embarrassment to Pennsylvania and must come to an end.”
Notably, included in the proposal is the expansion of Medical Assistance for postpartum individuals for up to 12 months. This investment in a crucial part of the #OptInPA campaign that our caucus has been championing for months. Nationally, the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates when compared to similarly wealthy countries. Growing evidence shows that the postpartum period lasts longer than 60 days and extending coverage for a full year can reduce maternal mortality rates and improve outcomes for both mothers and children.
"We've been fortunate to have a Governor and administrative team that understands the importance of maternal health. The funding for postpartum services in this year's budget, which has been a priority of the Women's Health Caucus, is very promising,” said Senator Judy Schwank, WHC co-chair (D-Berks). “Additionally, investments to bolster child care and pre-k will allow women who have left the workplace during the pandemic to return. I believe this proposal recognizes the opportunity we have to make big investments in working families from every corner of this commonwealth. Overall, I'm pleased with the Governor's budget and I'm grateful for his continued commitment to the women and families of Pennsylvania."
“At its heart, we all know that a state budget is a financial plan which reflects our priorities. Prioritizing women’s health means prioritizing Pennsylvania’s families,” said Representative Morgan Cephas, WHC co-chair (D-Philadelphia). “I am glad to see support for postpartum care, reentry services, and family support services amongst many other provisions announced in the Governor’s 2022 proposal.”
For more information on the proposals put forth in Governor Tom Wolf’s budget, see here.
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