Governor Tom Wolf is urging Congress to take action to preserve Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies to ensure that individuals and families who were eligible for this important subsidy may continue to obtain health care.
In a joint letter, Gov. Wolf and 13 other governors urged Congress to take action and ensure funding is in place to preserve ACA subsidies known as advanced premium tax credits (APTCs), which were expanded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The ARPA-expanded subsidy eligibility is set to expire at the end of the current plan year, leaving consumers exposed to dramatic premium increases.
“Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will be impacted if this subsidy expansion expires in December, which will mean their insurance premiums will increase, putting individuals in a health and financial risk. It’s critical that we continue to make affordable coverage as accessible as possible to as many as possible, and I applaud President Joe Biden for his leadership to not only expand coverage as part of ARPA, but also to make it permanent,” Gov. Wolf said. “I urge Congress to make these subsidies permanent so that Pennsylvanians can continue to have a better quality of life through affordable comprehensive ACA coverage.”
Governor Wolf has made access to affordable health coverage a priority throughout his administration.
In July 2019, Governor Wolf signed legislation establishing Pennie, the state-based ACA marketplace. Pennie replaces healthcare.gov as Pennsylvania’s official destination for shopping for quality health insurance plans and the only source of financial assistance to help with the cost of coverage and care. Currently there are nearly 360,000 Pennie customers throughout the commonwealth.
In addition to Pennie, Governor Wolf expanded Medicaid in 2015 — one of his first acts as governor — ensuring more Pennsylvanians have access to Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania. Today, more than 3.3 million Pennsylvanians are covered by Medical Assistance including almost 1 million people through the expansion. By expanding access to health care, the commonwealth realized the lowest uninsured rate in Pennsylvania history during the Wolf Administration and insurance rates are now the most stable year over year than they’ve ever been.
View a copy of the letter:
As governors, we are working to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare for the people of our states. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen the tragic impact of disease and illness among the uninsured and underinsured, particularly in communities of color and other underserved populations. As we have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to affordable health insurance can sometimes mean the difference between life or death. At a time when governments at all levels are struggling to find ways to reduce costs for the American people, we cannot allow the looming specter of rising health costs to cause more uncertainty and stress for American families. Therefore, we urge you to take action and ensure funding is in place to preserve Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies known as advanced premium tax credits (APTCs).
We applaud Congress for the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), which expanded and enhanced ACA APTCs. The ARP’s expansion of subsidies, along with the Biden Administration’s investment in marketing and enrollment support, led to a record high 14.5 million people signing up for ACA coverage during the most recent open enrollment period, a 21 percent increase from the prior year.
Health insurance coverage is critical to ensure consumers have access to healthcare and the best way to increase enrollment is to make coverage more affordable. The ARP has lowered costs for consumers: families saved an average of $200 a month in premiums, with four out of five consumers eligible to obtain a plan for $10 or less. The ARP expanded access to financial assistance and increased the number of consumers eligible for subsidies by 2.8 million in 2022 compared to the prior year.3 With the Biden Administration’s reinvestment in the ACA and the proposed rulemaking to fix the “Family Glitch,” we have a historic opportunity to build upon these enrollment gains and affordability improvements next year and in years to come.
Unfortunately, the ARP-expanded subsidy eligibility is set to expire at the end of the current plan year, leaving consumers exposed to dramatic premium increases, and threatening the progress we have made. As inflation continues to put a strain on consumers’ budgets, we are concerned that many people will choose to reduce health insurance coverage or even go without coverage if Congress fails to act. The Biden Administration estimates that approximately 3.4 million consumers currently enrolled could lose coverage if the ARP subsidy expansions expire at the end of 2022. The expiration of the enhanced subsidies would also lead to a decrease in enrollment and an increase in premiums, destabilizing health insurance markets, and impacting affordability for the broader population. Additionally, as the Public Health Emergency is expected to end in the coming months, some consumers will no longer be eligible for Medicaid but may become eligible for ACA subsidies. Without the enhanced subsidies to ensure there are affordable marketplace options, those consumers are likely to become uninsured.
Healthcare is a right—not a privilege. The ARP greatly improved health insurance affordability to ensure lifesaving healthcare is accessible to all Americans. We urge you to take action immediately to make the ARP expanded subsidies permanent to prevent a disastrous erosion of health insurance coverage.
Emmert is a 140-year-old, family-owned company with manufacturing operations in Cincinnati, Ohio, and 35-plus employees.
The company has a proven track record in animal nutrition, delivering “the right balance of brewer’s yeast, protein, vitamins, and essential amino acids” to support companion animal and livestock health, said Wilbur-Ellis.
“The acquisition will expand our product and customer base in pet food with value-added products. We also see great potential for Emmert’s research and development capabilities – which complement our own and can be leveraged in the future across the division, including the livestock and aquaculture businesses,” Matt Fanta, president of Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition.
Wilbur-Ellis CEO, John Buckley, noted: “Emmert’s capabilities are a great fit for the nutrition business, bringing greater balance and diversification to the division’s portfolio. The acquisition also supports the company’s broader strategy to continue building on our position as a leading agriculture and food company in North America.”
“Wilbur-Ellis has a long history of growth through acquisition,” Fanta noted. “And in every case, having similar values has been an important consideration.”
The deal is subject to the customary closing conditions.
July 2021 saw Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition acquire the forage pellet unit of Ametza, based in Holtville, California, with it saying then the acquired business complemented its existing forage manufacturing operations, located nearby. “Going forward, we expect to leverage our respective capabilities as we continue to invest in this business and grow our presence both domestically and internationally.”
Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition provides nutrition products for the livestock, pet food and aquaculture industries; it generates over US$500m in sales revenue annually and has over 30 locations across the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan
With so many different exercise routines and types of workouts, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to get started. You may wonder what the best workout schedule is, what types of exercise you should include and how often you should be doing them.
I will start by saying, some exercise is better than nothing! I never want people to feel discouraged to even start because they feel like they can’t commit to a certain number of days per week or a certain length workout each day. Even a 10-minute walk around the block is making steps in the right direction — so do what you can, when you can!
For those people with a general goal of improving their health and fitness, incorporating different types of exercise on a consistent basis, and reaching a moderate-intensity during those workouts, will provide the best results. Being regularly active boasts a wide variety of health benefits that include managing weight, reducing the risk of disease, strengthening bones, improving brain health, and improving a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
As a personal trainer, many of my clients enlist me to create the best workout schedule for their lifestyle and their goals. While this is customized to each person, there are a few basic guidelines that I follow.
How often should I exercise?
The CDC recommends 4-5 days of exercise a week to improve overall health and fitness. The recommend length is at least 30 minutes daily, though some exercise is better than none.
Depending on your personal goals, gym accessibility and what kind of exercise you enjoy doing (i.e. running, weight lifting, Pilates), your workout schedule may look different from someone else’s. But this is the workout schedule I generally recommend to improve overall health and fitness.
As a certified personal trainer, yoga and Pilates instructor, I recommend that my clients exercise five days a week, dividing the workouts as follows:
How much cardio you should be doing depends on your goals. If your goal is to lose weight, participating in at least two days of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or another aerobic activity (like spinning, swimming or fast walking) is what I recommend for my weight-loss clients.
These vigorous activities increase calorie burn. Though most lower-intensity cardio sessions will only increase calorie burn during the activity itself and maybe a little afterward, HIIT workouts lead to the “after-burn effect.” This means that not only are you burning calories during the workout, but for hours after your workout session.
How many strength-training days should I do each week?
I recommend that my clients strength train three days a week. Not only does research show that strength training help reduce overall body mass and fat, but research also shows it can improve your body image. Many of my clients report feeling stronger and more confident after a single strength-training session because they have find a sense of accomplishment in strengthening their bodies. Other clients have found that after adding in strength training, their bodies begin to release weight and they finally see the number on the scale start to go down.
A sample weekly workout plan
I usually recommend adding Pilates core work to strength-training days and yoga and/or stretching to the cardio days.
However, if you are crunched for time, you can perform cardio and strength training in the same day. Just keep in mind that it’s best for your muscles to not do the same strength-training workout two days in a row because the muscles need time to rest and repair. You can do cardio, core work and stretching every day!
This sample workout plan gives you an idea of what a week of well-balanced workouts may look like, including strength training, cardio, yoga and rest days.
Monday: Strength training (full body) with Pilates abs and yoga stretching
Tuesday: Cardio HIIT Session (20-30 minutes) or long walk/swim
Wednesday: Strength training (full body) & with Pilates abs and yoga stretching
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: Strength training (full body) with Pilates abs and yoga stretching
Saturday: Cardio HIIT session (20-30 minutes) or long walk/swim
Sunday: Rest day
Stephanie Mansour is a contributing health and fitness writer for TODAY. She is a certified personal trainer, yoga and Pilates instructor and weight-loss coach for women. She hosts “Step It Up with Steph” on PBS. Join her complimentary health and weight-loss challenge and follow her for daily inspiration on Instagram and in her new app.