Medical Debt Is Killing Our Patients

(Sep 18, 2023)

As an emergency medicine resident in the early 2000s, I cared for a patient in her early 60s with back pain. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), approximately 16%opens in a new tab or window of emergency department patients were uninsured. Often their issues were of low acuity, again because they had no other place to see a physician. I assumed that to be the case with this patient, that I would treat her presumably musculoskeletal back pain, and discharge her. However, while treating her, I noticed she struggled to walk and clutched her gown across her chest. It was the clutching that really struck me as unusual. Read more


Venkat seeks to protect children’s welfare

(Sep 12, 2023)

“While sexually violent predators must register under Megan’s Law, they may live where they choose, potentially putting children at risk,” Venkat said. “My legislation would change that and align Pennsylvania with a number of other states that enacted more robust residential restrictions, bolstering community safety and security, especially for our children.” Read more


Addressing the use of AI in the health insurance claims process

(Aug 14, 2023)

“As a recent example of the danger with algorithm-driven health insurance decision making, Cigna denied more than 300,000 claims, and health care professionals employed by Cigna only reviewed the cases for approximately 1.2 seconds each over a period of two months in 2022, which is unethical,” Venkat said. “With professionals spending approximately 1.2 seconds on a case and subsequently issuing rapid denials based on algorithmic decision making, individuals may receive unexpected bills for medically necessary treatments. It is time to regulate AI in health insurance claims processes that may only accelerate such dangerous abdication of claims review responsibilities.” Read more


More than $1.6 million awarded to Town of McCandless

(Aug 14, 2023)

“In the Town of McCandless, more than $1.6 million will make our roads safer for the residents and all those driving through the town,” Venkat said. “These grants will assist with improving signal equipment along the town’s roads.” Read more


Venkat applauds increased investments in public schools

(Jul 05, 2023)

As part of the state’s budget, funding will increase to $4.34 million for Avonworth School District, $7.69 million for Hampton School District and $17.26 million for North Allegheny School District, making a 10.7 percent increase, 5.5 increase and 8.3 increase in investments for the three school districts within the 30th Legislative District. It also allocates $100 million in unspent federal COVID-19 relief funds to provide grants for mental health services at schools. Read more


Venkat’s bill to alleviate medical debt passes House

(Jun 26, 2023)

“By establishing the Medical Debt Relief Program, we can alleviate medical debt for working Pennsylvanians, improve health care institutions and providers’ finances and reduce the costs for all Pennsylvanians,” Venkat said. “As an emergency physician, I’ve witnessed patients delay medical care due to the rising cost of health care, to the point of dying as a result. Through this bill, it is my hope that we can alleviate Pennsylvanians’ medical debt so that they may receive the health care they need.” Read more


Venkat speaks on legislation to alleviate medical debt

(Jun 26, 2023)

“Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States,” Venkat said. “It keeps thousands of patients from seeking necessary medical care. I’ve personally seen patients who died as a result of medical debt and not seeking necessary medical care, and so this is a real opportunity for us to help so many working Pennsylvanians.” Read more


Defying Divisions? State Legislatures Prove Bipartisanship Possible

(Jun 22, 2023)

A piece I wrote recently that challenges the belief that bipartisanship is impossible in state legislatures. Read more


Health Equity Q&A: Pennsylvania Rep. Arvind Venkat, MD

(Jun 16, 2023)

"The idea here is that with a small state appropriation, we can give the resources to an entity like RIP Medical Debt (a 501 charity focused on the elimination of personal medical debt) that can partner with willing health systems to purchase distressed debt and then forgive it. That’s a win-win for everybody. It’s a win for patients because the program is targeted toward those whose household income is up to 400% of the federal poverty level or whose medical debt exceeds 5% of their annual income — which, conservatively, is up to 1 million Pennsylvanians. It’s a win for the health care systems because they will be able to collect some small amount of what is largely unrecoverable debt." Read more


House Health Committee reports out Venkat’s bill to alleviate medical debt

(Jun 14, 2023)

Venkat, the only physician in the General Assembly, will now work with colleagues for full House passage and enactment into law. Read more


Venkat aims to work in bipartisan fashion as part of House Bipartisan Caucus

(Jun 13, 2023)

“Since taking office earlier this year, I made the commitment to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues on behalf of my district and Pennsylvania,” Venkat said. “As the state representative for McCandless, Franklin Park, Ohio Township, Kilbuck, Emsworth, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights and western Hampton Township, I intend to work for all constituents. In a time of political divide, it is important to meet in the middle to work together to pass legislation that helps all Pennsylvanians.” Read more


Venkat to host license plate legibility event June 15

(Jun 09, 2023)

The event will help motorists determine if their license plates are illegible and help them apply for a free replacement, if necessary. Read more


Venkat celebrates passage of state budget in the House, marking the start of budget negotiations

(Jun 06, 2023)

“I am pleased that my colleagues and I advanced a budget that will invest in all Pennsylvanians and, particularly, increase our investment in the Avonworth, North Allegheny and Hampton school districts while protecting against property tax increases,” Venkat said. “There is much work to do after Monday’s vote to fight for medical debt relief, increase access and affordability in health care and invest in our vital emergency medical services, police and fire agencies and all the municipalities I represent.” Read more


State Rep. Venkat's Avonworth Community Memorial Day Speech

(May 29, 2023)

Text of state Rep. Arvind Venkat's speech at the at the 77th Annual Avonworth Community Memorial Day Commemoration. Read more


Squirrel Hill group pushing for stricter gun laws meets with State Representative

(May 11, 2023)

While the man accused of shooting and killing 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue currently stands trial, members of the group Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence are hard at work pushing for stricter gun control legislation in Pennsylvania. Read more


Four gun safety bills could pass PA House in late May, head to Senate

(May 11, 2023)

At the end of May, the Pennsylvania House will have a final vote on four pieces of gun safety legislation. Read more


House passes Venkat bill to designate Diwali as a state holiday

(Apr 26, 2023)

In a victory for and celebration of Pennsylvanians of South Asian descent, the House today passed legislation that would designate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, as a state holiday, according to the bill’s prime sponsor, state Rep. Arvind Venkat. Read more


Venkat: Medical debt, a uniquely American problem

(Apr 13, 2023)

Together, we can help bring relief to our friends and neighbors who are being crushed by the colossal weight of debt incurred through the American health care system. Read more


Venkat pushes for medical debt relief in budget negotiations

(Mar 28, 2023)

Argues $15 million could alleviate up to $1.5 billion in medical debt. Read more


Venkat speaks at CeasefirePA, March for Our Lives rally

(Mar 23, 2023)

Will use his legislative position to work toward safer communities. Read more