In a recent Times Leader news article, Department of Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser stated that welfare programs receive $10 billion a year in state funding and account for 40 percent of the state budget.
Secretary Meuser's statement is commonly used in political semantics, an assertion most people have probably heard before. His statement was not technically incorrect. However, in order to be completely forthcoming with the public, what Secretary Meuser should have said is that 40 percent of our state budget goes to Department of Public Welfare programs, not to simply welfare programs, which most people associate with cash assistance and food stamps.
In reality, less than 1 percent of the department's state funding is used for so-called welfare, or cash assistance. The vast majority of the Department of Public Welfare's funding – about 80 percent -- is allocated for Medicaid-related programs, over two-thirds of which benefit our seniors. These programs include nursing home care, home- and community-based services, and services for those with disabilities.
As for the remaining 19 percent, 4 percent is used for administrative costs and about 15 percent is used to support another vulnerable population in our state: at-risk children. These services include early intervention for kids with developmental disabilities, like autism; county children and youth centers, which handle issues like child abuse and neglect; and early childhood care and education programs. These programs seek to provide all children with the best possible start in life, and many have been proven to save between seven and sixteen dollars for every dollar invested. These cost-savings are achieved by helping more of our children succeed, which in turn boosts the economy and lessens the burden on taxpayers to fund prisons and actual welfare programs down the road.
Again, providing welfare checks is just a minute fraction of what the Department of Public Welfare actually does, despite its name. In fact, Republican State Rep. Thomas Murt has introduced a bill this session to change the name of the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services. I agree with Representative Murt that this new name would far better reflect the role the department actually plays in our state, and I am proud to say that I have co-sponsored his bill.
Words have power. While I am sure Secretary Meuser didn't mean any harm with his casual remark, I wanted to take this opportunity to ensure the public was fully informed as to what welfare programs fully encompass.
The political posturing taking place in Plymouth borough is uncalled for. Those who hold control of voters in Plymouth have to be curtailed. There has long been corruption in the town that has been over looked by the media on every level. Unfortunately, the latest issue is insulting to the residents who want to see some honesty in our town.
Bill Dixon does not deserve the treatment and embarrassment to which he is being exposed. Because of his race, a few ignorant people on the council feel they can control and persuade him to do their bidding, and for him to walk back step with the rest of the puppets on council.
Are you aware that Bill Dixon is the only black person elected to office in Luzerne County? We should have more like him in office.
Once you meet Bill Dixon you can understand why the people in Plymouth voted for him.
Plymouth Borough has always had corrupt leaders. The town has been controlled by one party, and one family for far too long. What Bill Dixon did upon his return from the Vietnam War wasn't much different than what many of our returning servicemen did after a war the federal government turned its back on, leaving our servicemen unprotected from the hostility of the uninformed because of a war not won. What Bill Dixon did, he did to himself, and since has more than compensated for his errors. He long ago paid his debt and proved himself to be an upstanding resident of our community through his dedication in helping others and the borough.
I have lived in Plymouth Borough nearly 50 years and it had always been controlled by a political leader who handed the reins down to a family member. Plymouth Borough is made up of mostly elderly people and now has an influx of people who never had ties to the community, nor contributed constructively to its leadership.
When Bill Dixon was elected to council the chain of command was broken and it is hopeful that other voters can make time to elect people of integrity to administer to a town that has suffered for too long with a one man rule government.
On Tuesday night WNEP-TV cited a story that Geisinger and InterMountain physician groups sent letters to tell their patients that their Body Mass Index (BMI) was either above or below ideal. When this idea was discussed with some of the family doctors they said it was a new way to practice. Instead of treating disease they would try to be proactive and prevent it.
In the chiropractic profession this has always been the way we practice. We identify the cause of the problem we treat the patient and then recommend supportive care allowing us to monitor our patient and potentially fend off oncoming physical complaints. We educate on posture, exercises, and proper nutritional habits and we may recommend the patient return for care on a monthly basis. Our experience indicates this type of care helps patients to recover from problematic episodes in about a third of the time.
This wellness model, supporting patients' health and wellness, is not new to chiropractic, but has been our approach for more than 100 years.
In regard to the BMI letters doctors are sending, perhaps these doctors need to take a look at their patients' medical records and see what medications they take on a daily basis before sending these letters.
Many medications these doctors prescribe to us have such side effects as weight gain. Eating fast food, drinking soda and lack of exercise is not always the reason people are obese.
Have these doctors also taken in consideration the person's metabolism? We, as patients, need to research the side effects of the medications that they prescribe to us and maybe the doctors need to do research before they prescribe us weight-gaining medicine then send us letters about our BMI.
It's time doctors realize that they contribute to people being obese and take responsibility for their actions as they want us to take responsibility for ours.
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Phyllis Mundy State Representative 120th Legislative District Elaine Givens Plymouth Dr. Richard Cohen Wilkes-Barre J. Karmon Luzerne