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While things get sorted out in Washington, here in Harrisburg we’ve been at work on a program called Healthy Pennsylvania. It will make the most of the buying power of our state government.

It will take full advantage of competitive pricing in the free market. The program will bring more doctors into under-served communities, and bring specialists to remote areas through telemedicine.

When we are done, Healthy Pennsylvania will put high-quality, private-sector health insurance within reach of all our citizens, whatever their means. This is the solution we have chosen for ourselves. The alternative is to let Washington, with its usual one-size-fits-all mindset, make our choices.

Their approach would send a half-million currently uninsured Pennsylvanians into Medicaid, with no other option. Our approach would provide those same citizens with the kind of affordable, private health coverage that working people all over this state receive through their employers.

Instead of a restrictive entitlement program, Healthy Pennsylvania will give these individuals and families more choices and independence, encourage healthy behavior, and deliver better care at less cost to the taxpayers. It will also save the commonwealth more than $125 million this year alone.

To make good on this promise, all we need is a waiver from Washington. We’ll do the rest. Pennsylvania will provide access to health insurance where it is needed most, we’ll do it right, and we’ll do it best.


The smartest investments we make are the ones we make in people. We’re committed to helping those who need it most. My budget is a reflection of this commitment. It will help secure a brighter future for our seniors, our neighbors with disabilities, our victims of violent crime, and our veterans.

As many of you know, Pennsylvania is home to a growing senior population. Our seniors deserve our best care. To make certain they receive the help they need. This budget will invest $23.5 million to protect and expand services for nearly 3,300 older Pennsylvanians.

But we are not stopping there.

We have the chance to continue to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors with disabilities, individuals whose strength and courage have become a constant source of inspiration to me. For far too long, these people had to wait for services they and their families so desperately needed. But last year, our increased investments helped reduce that waiting list.

Just last week, I visited the Kroc Center where those with disabilities are able to work and lead fulfilling lives in the community. I saw the commitment of a community to make people’s lives better. I know how important that commitment is, and so do you.

We need to create a Pennsylvania where people with disabilities, and their families, will never be forced to wait for services again.

This year, we will work to further reduce those waiting lists with an additional $41.5 million to provide home and community-based options for people with disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.

The budget I propose to you today also helps guarantee victims of violent crime will not be forced to go through such a devastating experience alone. With a 10 percent increase in funding for Pennsylvania’s domestic violence and Rape Crisis programs, we will keep our commitment to provide the services necessary to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

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