Feb. 01, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Controlling Medical Malpractice Costs

This week, I participated in a Capitol news conference to bring greater attention to an issue that could make it more difficult to attract doctors to Pennsylvania, especially in less urban areas like ours.

Currently, medical malpractice cases must be brought in the county where the alleged malpractice occurred. If that rule is repealed by the court and lawyers are allowed to shop around for a more favorable court venue, doctors’ insurance premiums would skyrocket. Lawyers would bring cases, regardless of where the case arose, in plaintiff-friendly Philadelphia courts, where juries award huge damages. For example, our local doctors and hospitals practicing in Franklin County would be sued in Philadelphia. When this happened in the early 2000s, doctors closed their practices, moved to other states or retired early.

During the news conference, we heard compelling stories from two physicians and a long-term care official who experienced the crisis firsthand and have serious concerns about the future of health care in Pennsylvania.

If this change does occur, patients may have to say goodbye to their local doctors or drive farther for care. Additionally, recruiting physicians and specialists would be difficult, and medical innovations may be halted. Overall, patient care would suffer, and everyone would face higher health care costs. Learn more about the issue here.

Governor’s Budget Address Set for Tuesday

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Gov. Tom Wolf will unveil his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-20.

We are looking forward to seeing the governor’s proposal and reviewing the details in the coming weeks. The House Appropriations Committee will begin its series of budget hearings on Feb. 11.

You can watch the address on my website, RepSchemel.com, at 11:30 a.m. and keep your eyes on my social media for updates and reactions.
Possible Changes to Deer Season

The Pennsylvania Game Commission this week voted preliminarily to move the opening day of rifle season for deer to the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The proposal cannot take effect until the board’s next regular meeting on April 9, where they could change their vote upon gathering more information.

The commission will send out surveys to lapsed hunters who haven’t bought a license in two years to gauge why they no longer hunt and what could bring them back into the woods – including moving opening day to Saturday and Sunday hunting. The ban on Sunday hunting would have to be lifted by the Legislature before the commission could address it. If you have any thoughts or comments on the proposed move, please let me know. Learn more here.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Applications Available

Applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are now available on my website, and at my district office.

The program is designed to help eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older to receive up to a $650 rebate from the property taxes or rent they paid during 2018.

To be eligible, homeowners must earn less than $35,000 a year and renters less than $15,000 with half of Social Security income excluded.

Applicants should not pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Remember, my office can provide that service at no cost. The deadline to apply is June 30. Learn more here.
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Office Locations                                                                                                                                                                      
1402 E. Main Street, Waynesboro, PA 17268 | Phone: (717) 749-7384
1270 Crottlestown Road, Chambersburg, PA 17202 I Phone: (717) 263-1053
10655 Antrim Church Road, Greencastle, PA 17225 I Phone: (717) 895-3902 
Room 150-B, East Wing, PO Box 202090, Harrisburg PA 17120-2090 | Phone: (717) 783-5218
Email: pschemel@pahousegop.com