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Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Medicaid issue could kill DPW name-change

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 13, 2014 5:05 PM
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A key Senate committee today skipped a vote on a proposal to give the Department of Public Welfare a facelift and make it the Department of Human Services. The vote was delayed in order to give lawmakers - Republicans and Democrats - more time to draft amendments to the measure. But some think at least one amendment, offered by Democrats, would be counterproductive.

Democrats want to include language to force a Medicaid expansion, legislation which has previously passed in the Senate but has stalled in the House.

Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre), chair of the Appropriations Committee, said linking the issue to the DPW name-change may not be the best strategy for either bill.

"Look, we passed Medicaid expansion, and it's sitting over in the House, my guess is they're not going to take it up," Corman said. "So if we attach it to this, we're probably putting the rest of the bill at risk."

"To keep putting it on every vehicle," Corman added, referring to the Democrats' plan to amend Medicaid expansion into other bills, "you're just killing every vehicle that goes out of here."

Supporters have said for years that the "Human Services" name for DPW would show more sensitivity to benefit recipients. The name-change measure passed the House last summer. Corman said it will likely be scheduled for a committee vote next week.

If passed by the full Senate without any changes, it would go to the governor's desk.

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