Archive for July 31, 2013

Rep. Reed on The Dom Giordano Show WPHT 1210, CBS Philadelphia

dom_lgeRep. Reed was featured on Wednesday, July 31st Dom Giordano Show, highlighting the Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty policy initiative.  To listen to the entire show, click here… Listen to the Podcast Here!

To view WPHT 1210 CBS’ Dom Giordano’s Page, click here…Dom Giordano’s Page

 

Fox 43 on Poverty Simulation

Gateways out of Poverty Intiative

By Courtney Cherry, Producer Fox 43
 
Lawmakers and several community groups met today at the State Capitol to unveil a new outreach intiative focused on investigating and fighting poverty in Pennsylvania. The House Majority Policy Committee hosted the conference titled, “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways out of Poverty”. The group’s goal is to determine what steps can be taken to remove the barriers to opportunity that prevent families from overcoming the challenges of poverty.

Representative Dave Reed spoke at the event saying, “In the next several months, criss crossing the state and seeing poverty first hand, learning about the programs that work, learning about the programs that don’t work and hopefully throughout that time frame, we can put together a concrete package of legislation or programs or decisions that can help us formulate a way to help break down those barriers to poverty over the years ahead”.

(To Read More from Fox 43, Click Here…Fox 43)

Dr. Zane Gates on Our Discussion at UPMC Altoona- Partnering for Health Services

Friends,

It was a pleasure to meet with Chairmen Reed and the members of the policy committee at UPMC Altoona Partnering for Health Services clinic for the uninsured.  I applaud the committee’s efforts searching for a possible new method to take care of the uninsured that controls cost, increases access, and promotes prevention.  The issue of health care affects us all.  The single mother who works everyday at your favorite diner, counting her tips, deciding either to take her insulin or feed her children doesn’t have an R or D on her chest.  The political implications of her suffering is neither a left or right wing issue, it is a people issue that she must fight though everyday of her life as she pours your coffee with a smile. There are no Democratic or Republican conventions to attend for the mechanic who has a sick child and uses a large chunk of his income making sure his kid is well taken care despite not having insurance to take of his heart condition.

These are the faces of the people who never had a voice around the table of  health care reform.  The only method to solve the uninsured problems is to understand who they are. I know that the policy committee learned that today, and hopefully they understood that if we start with patient care first, all of the problems associated with the cost and politics of health care reform will finally be understood.  The doctors and nurses of Partnering for Health Services are able to focus on care, not the card you carry.  And that focus on care is the only thing that can brings both parties together to ease the suffering of the many and make health care accessible to all whom need it.     

-Dr. Zane Gates
Medical Director, Partnering for Health Services UPMC Altoona

Lebanon Daily News on Policy Committee’s Discussion with Palmyra Cirlces

Legislators updated on Palmyra Circles anti-poverty program

Updated: 07/16/2013

 

 
 

PALMYRA – A group of state legislators met with some Lebanon County residents involved in Palmyra Circles of Lebanon County Tuesday at the Palmyra Church of the Brethren, 45 N. Chestnut St., to learn how a program to help those in poverty is working. The meeting was the first of several that will be held across Pennsylvania as part of a state House initiative announced on Monday at the Capitol.

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(To Read More from the Lebanon Daily News, Click Here…Lebanon Daily News)

Philadelphia Inquirer Covers Initiative

GOP lawmaker opens Pa. tour to study poverty

By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: July 28, 2013

In what advocates for the poor perceive as a puzzling irony, a Republican lawmaker from western Pennsylvania has embarked on a statewide tour to examine and discuss poverty.

Rep. Dave Reed of Indiana County, chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee, said it was time “to truly re-evaluate government’s approach to fighting poverty,” adding that “a discussion on poverty is long overdue.”

All too often, Reed said, “Republicans fail to recognize poverty as a real issue. And Democrats think that throwing more money at issues solves problems.”

(To Read More From the Inquirer, Click Here… Philadelphia Inquirer)

Rep. Stern on Policy Committee’s Tour and Discussion with Dr. Zane Gates

Friends,

I was honored to host the Republican Policy Committee to Blair County to tour Dr. Zane Gates Health Clinic.

SternAs we look for ways to offer health care coverage for the working poor, this operation in Blair County is a model to emulate for the entire Commonwealth.

UPMC Altoona has saved millions of dollars in unreimbursed costs by reducing the number of patients having to use their Emergency Room.

They have done this by investing into a partnership with Dr. Gates. Through better interaction between doctors and health care professionals working alongside pharmaceutical personnel in his clinic, they can help educate patients in preventive care.

I have referred many constituents that work several jobs but can’t afford insurance to his office.

They place an emphasis on patient care, not whether you have the proper form of insurance coverage. Actually, they offer an insurance plan for $99 month that has comparable coverage that major insurance companies would like to be able to offer.

The way they offer health care to needy patients that have no place to turn, other than an ER visit, is a community treasure and saves thousands of trips to UPMC Altoona’s Emergency Room, thus providing better care at a more efficient price for everyone.

 

-Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair)
80th Legislative District

 

Rep. Gingrich on Our Discussion with Palmyra Circles of Lebanon County

Friends,

It was my privilege to welcome the House Majority Policy Committee to my district in Lebanon County as House members search for the best practices in place combatting poverty across the Commonwealth and to determine what legislative remedies may be necessary and appropriate to assist in this policy initiative.Gingrichport

The House Majority Policy Committee selected Palmyra Circles of Lebanon County as the first stop in its statewide tour for the Empowering Opportunities initiative.  Circles, a program designed to bring volunteers and community leaders together to help families intent on breaking out of poverty, was recognized by the committee for its effectiveness and the potential to replicate its practices elsewhere in the state. 

The Lebanon County Circles group currently has 13 individuals committed to moving themselves and their families out of their “near poverty” circumstances.  As participants, they are called Circle Leaders.  Each family has a middle class “ally” who assists the leaders in achieving their goal.

As the committee members spoke informally with the participants, we were reminded that the working poor face immeasurable obstacles. By definition, their wages, in low-paying jobs, are insufficient to provide basic necessities such as paying for housing, utilities, food, child care and transportation. Health care looms large as most have no insurance coverage.  One unexpected bill can knock them financially off balance.  They have significant trouble finding and keeping a job or managing to save money. Numerous factors can set people back. They identified obstacles such as criminal records/spending time in jail and parole, loss of employment, caring for children and medical/health issues. They are caught in a cycle that makes it almost impossible to maintain a healthy sense of self-worth.

 

Circles GraphicAs members of the Circle program, the participants have a sense of support they have never felt before. Allies and Circles Leaders teach each other, based on life experiences and successes. Education is the key and sometimes that means being educated on making commonsense decisions or basic rules of running a household and the financial planning and responsibilities that come along with it. Allies are the people next door and become real everyday life coaches to help to create the pathway out of poverty. It was amazing to witness and hear the enthusiasm of the participants. One comment that exemplifies the outcome of the Circles program is this quote from a Circle Leader: “It’s refreshing to see where we were and where we are now. And we owe a lot to this place (Palmyra Circles).”

 

The sense of self worth shined on their faces—FINALLY!

-Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon)

 

Check out Palmyra Circles of Lebanon County’s Website too!

http://www.palmyracircles.org/index.html

Poverty Simulation- July 15th

Friends,

Being a member of the Indiana County Community Action Board, I jumped at the chance to host a Poverty Simulation for House members as our launching point for the Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty policy initiative. 

We were thrilled to have such a great turnout for the event—many thanks to Representatives Sankey, Gingrich, Dunbar, Stephens, Quinn, Saylor, Brown, Helm, Tobash, Oberlander, Delozier, Cutler, English, Kampf, Gabler, Corbin, and Fee for their participation.  Members071513AttendingPovertySimulator70We were happy to be joined by members from the faith based and community organizations who volunteered to participate as well.

The simulation was sincerely an eye opening experience—providing both myself and other lawmakers with a peek at what folks living in poverty go through in attempting to not only breach economic independence but to just make ends meet.

Members071513AttendingPovertySimulator27

While the simulation is designed to be stressful, it also depicts real life challenge that working poor folks face.  With limited money, tight transportation budgets, ailing in-laws’ medical payments, and unexpected expenses that pop up, the simulation provided a stark example of the challenges of living in poverty in Pennsylvania.   Members071513AttendingPovertySimulator105

As the Policy Committee continues to crisscross the state studying the best and worst practices in place to combat poverty, this experience will certainly stick in my mind.  I hope the comprehensive approach we take in studying various types of poverty in a variety of areas of  the state will continue to provide such insights to the barriers our folks face as they attempt to break out of poverty.

I want to thank Joe Ostrander, Megan Shreve and their volunteers from the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania for their efforts in putting together this simulation.  This launching point certainly gave both me and other legislators a broad look at the issues facing the working poor in this state.Members071513AttendingPovertySimulator79

- Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana)

Welcome to the Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty Blog!

Friends,

Last week, the House Majority Policy Committee launched our newest policy initiative Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty. With nearly $1 trillion spent nationwide combatting poverty coupled with 1.5 million Pennsylvanians and 46 million Americans still living in poverty; clearly we must readjust our focuses.  

The Policy Committee is planning to investigate both the cycle of poverty Reed071513Presser03and how current programs combat challenges facing our low income citizens.  Because this issue is so vast, and the Policy Committee will be crisscrossing the state hosting a wide variety of roundtable discussions, tours, and hearings regarding the issues related to poverty, I wanted to make sure folks had a chance to take this journey along with us.  

The blog will serve as an update from both myself and my fellow legislators as we make new discoveries throughout this process. 

Make sure to constantly check back for updates from our various meetings with stakeholders, newspaper articles, and other Policy Committee events related to the Empowering Opportunities initiative.

With that being said, check out my first update on my thoughts from poverty simulation held on July 15th, just hours after our press conference.

-Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana)