State lawmakers meet about hospital jobs

    Republicans say Democrats should adopt an alternative, not criticize.

    Democrats in the Pennsylvania Senate are meeting with local hospital administrators and public officials Monday, July 13 to discuss a state budget proposal they say will hurt the health care industry.

    Listen: [audio:090710tejobs.mp3]

    The Delaware Valley Healthcare Council is the hospital association for the Philadelphia region. The association says the budget plan from Senate Republicans could cost southeast Pennsylvania about 2,800 hospital jobs, and another 5,400 jobs linked to the healthcare sector. Kenneth Braithwaite leads the council.

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    Braithwaite: These are well-paying jobs, these are jobs in the range from about $40,000 to $52,000, everything from clinical services to other services in the hospital, contract services, linen services, food services.

    Braithwaite says Pennsylvania will forfeit millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding if the Senate Republican plan succeeds.

    Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi of Chester County says Democratic lawmakers have spent two months opposing the Republican plan without bringing an alternative proposal to a floor vote. Pileggi says the meeting is the wrong approach.

    Pileggi: Their appropriate response should be to allow the members of the House of Representatives to vote on it and amend it, or better yet if they really support the governor’s taxes and higher spending, to vote on the governor’s 1.5 billion-dollar tax increase.

    The budget proposal from Senate Republicans would strip $28 million in Medicaid funding from Pennsylvania hospitals. Philadelphia Senator LeAnna Washington says she’s worried about hospital closures, but Republican lawmakers say Democrats are fear-mongering and nitpicking a 2-month-old-plan.

    Republican Ted Erickson leads the Senate health committee.

    Erickson: Scare tactic, after scare tactic. They just keep criticizing and criticizing and they take no positive action. The ball, as they say is in their court, I wish they would do something.

    Governor Rendell proposed a personal income tax increase but no bill has reached the House floor for debate. House Republicans released a spending plan on July 10th.

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