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The Number of People in Pennsylvania Who Depend on Food Stamps and Medicaid is Through the Roof


Food stamps and Medicaid recipients in Pennsylvania have grown by leaps and bounds since the 1970s.

Some experts say that this makes the aid system open to waste, fraud, and abuse, some of which is done “on purpose.”

At a hearing in Williamsport on Wednesday, Rep. Josh Kail, R-Beaver, said, “There’s agreement that there needs to be a social safety net. But whether or not that net is actually working is a different matter.” “We have to be ready to test and believe in it…” We shouldn’t waste or play with our own money; it belongs to the taxpayers, and we need to make sure it’s spent wisely.

It is now more of your duty. In 2000, 760,000 people in Pennsylvania were getting food stamps. These days, almost 2 million people get them. In the same way, Medicaid has grown: in 2000, the state spent $10.7 billion on 1.3 million residents to get Medicaid benefits. Today, the state spends almost $47 billion to get benefits for 3.3 million people.

More people are getting welfare than are moving to Pennsylvania, which has only added 700,000 people since 2000. The Department of Human Services, on the other hand, spends most of the money in the state budget.

“Line items for human services make up 42% of our state budget, or $19.1 billion,” said Rep. Joe Hamm, R-Mountoursville. When we compare one year to the next, human services grow by about 5.2%, which is about $1 billion a year. A lot of that money comes from the federal government, too. In these programs, we get close to $19 billion from the federal government.In benefit systems where people are held accountable and honest, there will be more money for people who really need it.

A lot of money is spent on human services in every state budget, but the commonwealth’s stands out: the Foundation for Government Accountability found that Pennsylvania’s Medicaid spending as a share of its budget is the biggest in the country.

Medicaid is taking up more and more of your budget every year, which means less money for public safety, schools, roads, and people who really need it, said Sam Adolphsen, policy director at the FGA.

He also said that almost half of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid recipients were healthy adults.

“When adults who are healthy take over your program, there won’t be anything left for people who really need it…” She said, “That’s why we fight fraud.” “As welfare has grown, fewer people are working; it’s keeping them from getting jobs.”

Adelson said it was “fraud by design” that people could get Medicaid before the state checked to see if they were eligible. At the same time, 14,000 people with physical and mental challenges are still on a waiting list for help.

He said, “That’s how you get this theft of this safety net.” “This is to protect these people and taxpayers: stop fraud and save money.”

Roy Lenardson, who is in charge of state government affairs for the FGA, told lawmakers to look at Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas, Florida, and North Carolina as examples of states that have made changes.

He told her, “These changes work, and you’re not alone.” “These aren’t just states; these are your rivals…” It’s much easier to bring in new businesses when you have a strong staff.

He said that making other changes, like cleaning up Pennsylvania’s administrative code, would boost the economy and make the safety net stronger. It is also important to use legislative power.

Lenardson told them, “Take back control. You are the only person in your district who can watch over the government and hold it accountable.” “The legislature needs to hold them responsible for benefit integrity to protect it.” “If not you, then no one else.”

Adelson agreed that lawmakers needed to take responsibility and told them not to let policies be made without the General Assembly’s approval.

Adolphsen said, “The kindest and most understanding thing you can do is state that we will help you, but in exchange, you must attend this job training on Monday.” “There are lots of chances out there.” For me, it starts with having to help them get where they’re going.

Lawmakers all agreed that the goal of government aid programs should be to keep healthy people from needing them all the time.

Hamm said, “We need to make sure that we’re giving Pennsylvanians the best chance to become financially independent and not dependent on the government.”

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