Senate Budget Hearings – Key Points

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Department of Human Services

Senate Republicans questioned Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller about the numerous ways the pandemic and changing demographics will affect the delivery of services and costs to taxpayers. Lawmakers also urged the Secretary to use funding from the new federal stimulus for one-time costs – not to backfill programs that will increase costs to taxpayers when that funding disappears.

Human Services Costs to Taxpayers Continue to Rise

Governor Wolf’s budget would increase spending for DHS by nearly $760 million next year. Secretary Miller said supplemental spending for her department increased by more than $900 million in the current year’s budget. Senate Republicans raised concerns about these cost increases and the effect of these expenses on other parts of the budget.

Ensuring Efficiency with Community HealthChoices program

The Community HealthChoices program was implemented to allow our older Pennsylvanians the opportunity to remain in their homes and their communities instead of having to move to a long-term care facility, while still receiving the assistance they required. Members of the Appropriations Committee called on the Secretary to ensure that the program operates efficiently and effectively and that only individuals that meet the needs of this program are receiving these services.

Moving Able-Bodied Medicaid Recipients to Workforce

Despite Governor Wolf’s vetoes of legislation to require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to meet commonsense work requirements in order to continue receiving benefits, Secretary Miller said that she hoped to see 100 percent of these individuals find employment. 

Hearing video and highlights of other Senate Budget Hearings can be found at PASenateGOP.com.