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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Thursday, October 09, 2014 The latest news from the State Capitol

Potter County Senior Citizens Expo Tomorrow

One last reminder about tomorrow’s Senior Citizens Expo at the Roulette Fire Hall, 12 Riverside Drive in Roulette, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Senior citizens, their family members and their caregivers will have the opportunity to talk with people who provide a variety of valuable programs and services in one convenient location.

As always, admission is free and lunch will be served.

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Seniors are also invited to join Rep. Kathy Rapp and me at her Senior Expo from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Kane Community Center, 46 Fraley St. in Kane.

Successful Prescription Assistance Program Celebrates 30 Years

The PACE prescription drug assistance program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year! Over the last three decades the program has filled more than 300 million prescriptions for low-income Pennsylvanians over the age of 65.

To quality for PACE benefits, one must be at least 65 years old or older, a state resident at least 90 days prior to the date of application and not be enrolled in the Department of Public Welfare’s Medicaid prescription benefit. Income limits are set at $14,500 or less for a single person, and $17,700 or less for a married couple.

Senior citizens earning up to $23,500 as individuals or $31,500 for married couples may qualify for assistance as well through the PACENET program.

Learn more at the Department of Aging’s website or contact your Area Agency on Aging. You may also call the PACE program at 1-800-225-7223.

Register Today for Smethport Firearms Safety and Rights Seminar

Just a reminder that we are taking reservations for another Firearms Safety and Rights Seminar to be held on Monday, Oct. 27, from 6-8 p.m. at the Smethport Fire Hall, 109 S. Nelson St., Smethport.

The event will again feature a presentation by Ray Learn, McKean County district attorney, and Roger Sager, McKean County deputy sheriff and certified firearms instructor, who will discuss the state’s concealed carry laws, the Castle Doctrine and other valuable information regarding state gun laws and gun safety.

Registration is required due to a limited amount of seating available. Click here to register online, or call the office at 1-866-437-8181.

Bill Aims to Enhance Cancer Treatment Options

Oral anticancer medications are now available as an alternative to chemotherapy for cancer patients, but they cost substantially more because of how they are treated by insurance companies. I was pleased to vote in support of a bill to change that.

As it currently stands, intravenous anticancer medications are typically covered under a health plan’s medical benefit, often only requiring patients to pay a minimal fixed co-payment; however, orally administered anticancer medications are covered under a health plan’s pharmacy benefit and require patients to pay a percentage of the total cost of the drug, generally between 25 percent and 30 percent. This significantly increases the out-of-pocket costs to obtain treatment for patients.

Recognizing that the oral medications make it easier and more convenient for patients to stick to their treatment plan, House Bill 2471 would prohibit insurance companies from placing oral anticancer medications on a specialty tier or charging a co-insurance payment for the medication. This would make the option more affordable for patients.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Strengthening Consumer Credit Protections

In light of ongoing identity theft threats, the House this week approved legislation aimed at helping Pennsylvanians protect themselves financially.

Under current law, consumers can request a credit report security freeze that prohibits a credit reporting agency from releasing the consumer’s credit information to certain third parties. However, that freeze expires after seven years.

Under House Bill 1982, the security freeze would remain in effect until the credit reporting agency receives a request from the consumer to have it removed.

The bill will go on to the Senate for further consideration.

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