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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 10, 2020 04:31 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey
To: All House members
Subject: Redirecting Health Insurer Fee to Provide Sustainable, Increased Wages for Direct Care Workers
Dear Colleagues,

In the near future, I will introduce a legislative proposal intended to provide much needed funding for the direct care workforce. I have long advocated for Pennsylvania workers and jobs that provide life sustaining wages. Accordingly, my legislative proposal seeks to provide sustainable, reoccurring revenue to fund hourly wage increases for direct care workers to nearly $15 per hour. 

To achieve this goal, my legislative proposal would direct that the current federal fees on health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act be shifted to state fees; generating an estimated $450 million in revenue, annually. The revenue generated would be deposited into the newly-established “The Direct Care Workforce Stability Fund.” However, due to the impact of COVID-19, a portion of the money in the fund would be used to offset the budget deficit in the first year of implementation. 

For years I, like many of you, have heard from direct care workers and their families about the desperate need to foster stability in the direct care workforce by increasing the wages of frontline workers in our nursing and personal care homes, in child care and those who work with the physically disabled or provide ID/A services. Although most direct care workers are paid at or just above the minimum wage, and are mostly uninsured or underinsured, they work tirelessly to provide much needed support and services to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations. I believe that a revenue source specifically dedicated to ensuring life sustaining wages for our direct care workforce would not only improve their lives, but also would also improve the provision of direct care services for the populations that rely on this workforce.

I thank you in advance for joining me as a sponsor of this most important and timely legislative proposal.