Politifact calls out Casey healthcare claim

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. tweeted the GOP health care proposal would slash more than $135 million from school funding, a figure that was slightly off.

Politifact has rated as “False” a claim by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. that the Senate Republican healthcare plan could devastate already cash-strapped public schools that receive Medicaid reimbursements for programs benefiting poor children and students with disabilities.

Casey, a Democrat, tweeted, “The GOP health care proposal would slash more than $135 million in federal funding available to PA schools.”

Republican officials say their bill doesn’t target vulnerable populations like children with disabilities.

Casey’s office pointed to data that indicated schools in the state received a total of $134.5 million in the 2014–15 fiscal year in Medicaid reimbursements for School Based ACCESS services.

Politifact noted that $134.5 million is not “more than” $135 million. Though Casey’s tweet implies all $135 million in Medicaid reimbursements to schools would be cut under the GOP healthcare plan, there is no provision in the GOP healthcare bill that specifically cuts Medicaid funding to schools.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates Medicaid spending would decrease by about 26 percent by 2026, meaning a statewide cut of $35.1 million to schools might have been a more reasonable estimate, according to Politifact.

But even that cut wouldn’t be guaranteed under this plan and would occur if states chose to reduce Medicaid reimbursements to school districts because of cuts in funding from the federal government, Politifact determined.

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In the Nov. 7 general election, voters will decide whether to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow more significant residential property tax reductions.

The Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill, in the last two sessions, allowing counties, municipalities and school districts to exclude up to 100 percent of the median assessed value of homestead property from taxation.

In 1997, voters passed a referendum allowing local governments to exclude up to 50 percent. ••