June 30, 2009

PARA announces support for HB 1676: Expanding and Improving PACE/PACENET Programs

Senior Citizens in Pennsylvania often face difficult economic challenges, as they struggle to make ends meet between their fixed incomes and the rising cost of everyday goods, skyrocketing property taxes, and out-of-control medical costs; mostly related to prescription drugs.  As the percentage of Pennsylvania’s population over 65 steadily increases, the cost of prescription drugs threatens to further damage our state’s economy, worsen the housing crisis and cause a public health disaster.

HB 1676 will allow PACE/PACENET to include an additional 30,000 seniors into a program that helps them get valuable discounts on vital medication.  The expanded program would increase the PACENET income eligibility limit for an individual from $23,500 a year to $30,000 a year.  Similarly, the income guidelines for a couple would increase from $31,000 a year to $40,000 a year.  Many seniors will have a better chance of staying in their homes and having enough money in their pockets to maintain their dignity by accessing this program.  Furthermore, this potentially life-saving legislation will not burden the taxpayers or add to Pennsylvania’s budget woes, because the funding mechanisms are included in the bill.

The passage of HB 1676 is a top priority for the Alliance.  We urge our elected representatives to stand with seniors on this critical piece of legislation, and we urge all seniors to show their support by contacting their representative today.

The Alliance for Retired Americans, led by President Jean Friday of Pittsburgh, has over 300,000 members and 134 affiliate organizations in Pennsylvania.  For more information about our organization, visit http://www.pennretiredamericans.org/.

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