Nonviolent Medicaid Army Put People First! PA

For Immediate Release: June 5th, 2023


Barbara White | | 412-381-6886

Put People First! PA  |


“Caroling the Crisis” Demonstration Highlights Cruelty of Cuts to Medicaid That Target Pennsylvania’s Poor

Who: Residents of Pennsylvania, Members of Put People First! PA and the Nonviolent Medicaid Army
What: Sing-out, testimonies and demonstrations by directly affected residents from five regions on the capitol steps, followed by caroling offices of legislators. 

Photo/Video opportunities: Large banner opposing Medicaid cuts, songs from the Poor People’s Campaign

When: Wednesday, June 7th, 9AM Press Conference

Where: Capitol Steps, N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA 17120

Since the bipartisan decision by Congress in December 2022 to end the continuous coverage requirement for Medicaid, resulting in cut-offs in PA beginning on April 1, 2023, Put People First! PA has been organizing all over the state with residents impacted by these cutoffs – who will converge on the Capitol steps on June 7th to make their voices heard.

Directly impacted residents will hold a press conference, demonstration, and grassroots advocacy day, including a selection of movement songs (“Caroling the Crisis”) to highlight the cruelty of threatening nearly 1 million poor and working-class Pennsylvania residents with revocation of their health insurance through redetermination and disenrollment.

As reports of bureaucratic problems with the appeals process continue to pour in, PA residents are coming together to share why Medicaid matters to them:

“As a longtime Medicaid recipient, and as a person whose chronic pain is currently reaching the point of disability, the Medicaid cuts in PA will affect my ability to make appointments, to receive treatment, to maintain my income and provide for my basic needs,” said James Glatz, from Greentown in Pike County.

“Medicaid for me is an essential need to continue living; it not only helps with my medical appointments and copays for prescriptions, it is also helping me do the tasks that are needed to work towards obtaining housing. [Medicaid has] opened the doors literally for me, as an unhoused individual, to work with case management and to have the ability to obtain housing beyond just shelter.” said Shawn Kneisley of Lancaster County. 

“I and many other people like me simply can’t afford ACA premiums on the wages I receive. Medicaid gives me hope that I can manage my health as a young adult without going into further debt or going uninsured.” said Anita Knisely-Durham of Montgomery County.

“I am currently homeless and living in a shelter here in Philadelphia, while working and trying to get a place of my own… I worked hard my entire life and paid into these programs.  It is not entitlement but necessary for those who desperately need the help.” said Thea Reimel from Philadelphia.

“I need Medicaid to supplement my Medicare”, said Barbara White of Allegheny County. “My Medicare Advantage plan has too many out of pocket costs and inflation has hit hard.”

Responding to the testimony of these residents and many others, Put People First! PA is demanding that no one lose their healthcare; that PA should instead invest some of the $8 billion dollar budget surplus to expand Medicaid to cover all PA residents, fully restore the Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit that was cut in 2011, and that the legislature should pass a bill to establish an office of the Public Healthcare Advocate [1] for Pennsylvania to provide support for residents fighting for their healthcare rights.

For more information on the Public Healthcare Advocate (2021-2022 House Session HB1828), see the policy report released by Put People First! PA in August 2021.

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