Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Welfare Secretary Bev MacKereth

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 28, 2013 1:43 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Friday, March 29:


Gov. Tom Corbett will be meeting soon with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.  The session could impact the futures of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians who may be eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Up until now, the governor has rejected expanding Medicaid because he believes it may cost Pennsylvania taxpayers more money in the long run.

That's even though the federal government pledges to pay 100% of the expansion for the first three years and 90% after that.

Corbett has indicated he doesn't have confidence in the federal government's commitment and he doesn't believe he has gotten all his questions answered from Washington.

On Friday's Radio Smart Talk, acting Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare Bev MacKereth will address Medicaid expansion and a host of other topics.

Sec. MacKereth will also discuss Gov. Corbett's proposal to increase funding for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, older Pennsylvanians and child care.  Critics point out many of those services have been cut in prior Corbett budgets.

Legislation has been introduced to change the name of DPW to the Department of Human Services because the title best fits the role of the agency.  Sec. MacKereth has been quoted as saying the move would cost $8 million in a tight budget.   


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  • Robert D Colgan img 2013-03-29 08:19

    Corbett's expand Medicaid actually says everything about his real agenda : ignoring people's most basic and critical needs as if they're relatively unimportant as a function of government, while emphasizing the privatization of everything mutually held by all Pennsylvanians that can be deferred to profiteers...

    . . . .all in the name of "responsible" leadership.
    His idea of government is a corporate mentality, not a common wealth.

    The effects of this?
    Pennsylvania no longer in the hands of Pennsylvanians.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-29 08:21

    John from Central PA:

    I work in psychiatric rehabilitation, and have 2 concerns:

    1. Our county's community mental health budget was cut about 8% with the first Corbett budget. We've had to reduce the hours provided to our clients, individuals who suffer from very severe mental illness. I've heard nothing about restoration of that funding. Indications are Mental Health funding will remain flat.

    2. Expanding Medicaid would actually alleviate the state's Mental Health budget cuts, expanding eligibility for our clients - and saving precious county funds for the few others who would remain ineligible.

    I have individuals who received services 2-3 days per week, who are now down to 1 day per week, and may have to drop down to once every 2 weeks. One of those individuals is working to get a GED, and return to the work force, getting off disability. The cuts to community Mental Health prevent individuals from recovering from mental illness.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-29 08:24

    Email from Manuel, Carlisle:

    This is just another government bailout. And just as when Ford refused government funds for bailout, I supported them by buying one of their cars, I want to support my state government for their willingness to do what is right. I whole heartedly support this decision by our governor. What can the average person do, to show their support for his decision?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-29 08:25

    Email from Dave in Harrisburg,

    Please consider reading the comment below at the appropriate part of your discussion on DPW today.

    Since people want to change the name of the Department of Public Welfare because its name doesn’t describe what it does, I would like to point out two things:

    • “Public welfare” literally means “the people’s well-being.” It seems pretty clear that a department in charge of everyone’s well-being would need to provide a wide variety of services to take care of everyone’s needs.
    • “Commonwealth” ALSO literally means “the people’s well-being.” The “wealth” part of commonwealth comes from an Old English word meaning “well-being,” and “common” means “shared by all.” So our state government, then, is also responsible for ensuring that everyone has at least some minimum level of well-being. It’s in the name.

    I, for one, don’t want to end up being a citizen of the Human Services of Pennsylvania! People who want to make policy based on the meaning of words should look up their definitions before they start wasting time and taxpayer money arguing about them. If they think people don’t know about all the services DPW provides, why don’t they just advertise them?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-29 08:30

    Email from Ken,

    Please clarify the comment about Children with special needs getting medicaid regardless of the parents income. To my knowledge to receive any kind of Medicaid income is the determining factor. Does the guest actually mean a family with six or seven figure income would qualify for Medicaid?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-29 08:37

    Email from Kim

    Obamacare ISN'T a good idea! My disabled child has been on Medicaid for 12 years. She got the boot from her doctor because of a "shortage" and it took me hours on the phone trying to find a doctor. Nobody is accepting gateway anymore so I had to switch her to Aetna.

    This state is overrun with Medicaid patients with very few doctors able to handle them. So how is an expansion going to make things better? I knew sooner or later this ACA and shortage of doctors would fall at my doorstep. I'm disgusted. Do not open an ACA exchange! Perhaps a president that could handle the economy and job growth would have been better than a president trying to socialize the nation and taking away from the disabled to the lazy can still be lazy. Let the trolling begin because I am one ticked off momma right now!

  • Lisa img 2013-03-29 08:49

    So Governor Corbett is showing good leadership by taking the time to find out more about this subject, ask questions, and locate alternatives? Where is this attitude toward fracking? Funny, how this is only good leadership when it comes to helping people, not corporations.

  • Jeanne Duffy img 2013-03-29 19:50

    If Governor Corbett is truly interested in ensuring that “more people get affordable, high-quality health care,” as Secretary MacKereth insists he is, and that they are looking at all options, then why are they ignoring a solution that should be staring them in the face: the Pennsylvania Health Care Plan that senator Jim Ferlo recently re-introduced to the legislature as Senate Bill 400. A recently released Economic Impact Study by Gerald Friedman, healthcare economist from U Mass Amherst, concludes that not only is this state plan for healthcare affordable, it would save the state over $16 billion a year in healthcare expenditures, including over $4 billion a year in savings to all levels of government in Pennsylvania, just considering healthcare insurance premium costs. The Pennsylvania Health Care Plan provides comprehensive coverage (no deductibles, no co-pays) for every resident of Pennsylvania, including physician and ancillary care, hospital, dental, vision, mental health, addiction care, long-term care, and prescription drug costs. It would be funded by business and individual taxes that are quite modest compared to what companies and individuals are now paying for insurance premiums. I ask you, Scott, to have a Smart Talk program on this plan and suggest that you contact Healthcare4AllPa (see website .org for possible speakers). It is high time that this plan get some visibility in the state! Thank you. Jeanne Duffy, Gettysburg