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A bill expanding healthcare access for working disabled people may see Senate action

The measure has high-ranking co-sponsors from both parties, making it a rare healthcare bill that may not divide the chamber on party lines.

  • Katie Meyer
Shown is the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, July 10, 2017.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Shown is the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, July 10, 2017.

(Harrisburg) — A bill that aims to let more disabled people access a program that gives them medical services appears primed to move quickly through the state Senate.

It may be a rare area where Democrats and Republicans can agree on healthcare.

The bill concerns the state’s Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities program, which is designed to let working disabled people earn more money without totally losing state benefits.

Sponsored by Berks County GOP Senator Bob Mensch, the measure would raise the program’s earnings cap from $61,000 to $75,000.

In a memo, Mensch said the cap sometimes discourages people from accepting wages or promotions.

The premium that program users pay the state would also increase, from 5 percent to 7.5 percent of their monthly income.

The bill was recently assigned to the Senate’s Health Committee. Among its co-sponsors are the chamber’s Democratic Minority Leader and the Republican Senate President Pro Tempore.

So far, advocacy groups also appear to be on board.

A spokeswoman for the state Health Access Network, which lobbies for healthcare accessibility, said in general it always supports initiatives to expand coverage.

She added, the group is still reviewing the bill’s language.

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