LETTER: Wolf’s budget plan is focused

Teresa Osborne
Secretary, PA Department of Aging

Pennsylvania’s budget deficit and its senior population have something in common — they’re both growing rapidly.

On Feb. 7, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a budget that reimagined state government, prioritized the needs of older Pennsylvanians, and placed the commonwealth on secure financial footing by saving taxpayers over $2 billion.

Gov. Wolf understands that to deliver public health, social and human services in the most effective way, it requires innovation, creative thinking and practical solutions. That is why his budget includes a proposal to unite the departments of Aging, Drug and Alcohol, Health, and Human Services to create a new agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services.

With a plan to address Pennsylvania’s deficit, the governor reaffirmed his commitment to seniors by making no program cuts and ensuring there is no impact on how lottery funds are used.

This is not the case for HB 218.

This budget, which was recently passed by the house, hurts seniors by cutting nearly $6 million from home and community-based services, $4 million from local health departments, and $650,000 from state health centers. It also calls for administrative cuts that will result in the loss of over 400 health and human services jobs at the state level.

As W. Russell McDaid, President/CEO of PHCA, wrote in a recent letter, “… having the right personnel is critical in meeting these growing demographic challenges and delivering quality care. But so is adequate funding.”

The Wolf Administration wholeheartedly agrees. It is the reason why we are working to break down bureaucratic silos and create a culture of shared responsibility that will provide older Pennsylvanians with a more efficient, effective, and responsive health and human services system. It is the reason we are fighting to maintain funding.

Gov. Wolf’s budget plan is laser focused on the needs of older Pennsylvanians.


Secretary, PA Department of Aging

Gov. Tom Wolf in a 2015 file photo.