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A personal constitutional dilemma

first_imgTo the Editor:Halloween 2017 put me in a quagmire with my own personal feelings which I inevitably pitted against the Constitution. This day brought forth another terrorist attack on American soil by a terrorist who pledged loyalty to ISIS. My immediate reaction was probably like others, it has to stop and we must do anything to deter people from committing these acts, full well knowing that logically this is not possible. Raw emotion can be dangerous if not reigned in and my second thought was this person deserves nothing and should get nothing other than death. As the events of the day unfolded some began to suggest that this person should be treated as an enemy combatant. My initial reaction was that this is an appropriate course of action and could technically be constitutional. This person pledged allegiance to ISIS which has declared the United States its sworn enemy, an enemy not of a country but an enemy in ideology scattered throughout the world.My thought process flowed logically to some degree because if someone declares allegiance to another country or a foreign entity they are siding against the Constitution. Logically they have given up their Constitutional Rights and should be treated as an enemy combatant and due process does not apply. As I pondered this and my emotions calmed down and I started questioning my own reasoning. This person was here legally and as such they are afforded the same rights as we are. This Constitutional Republic is built on the premise that all are equal under the eyes of the law and the Constitution. Suspending Habeas Corpus on an individual who was admitted into this country legally would be a very slippery slope.I continued to ponder if this is something that could be decided by the courts via a judge. Could a judge make a ruling as to if an individual’s rights to due process, could he be stripped and reclassified but I hit the same wall. Having a judge make this decision is a slippery slope. How could we trust the courts or the government to do the right thing, what would stop them from abusing such authority. I thought about it more and realized why the founders feared mob mentality so much. When a time of crisis is upon us, people are willing to throw away all ideals and reasoning to achieve justice even if an injustice results.As I viewed this dilemma that I inflicted upon myself I realized once again why the Constitution is so important and not outdated. The Constitution not only protects us from the Government but also protects us from ourselves, to protect us from the enemy within. The enemy is raw emotion, mob mentality. That is why this terrorist, a monster, a stain on mankind still must have due process. The 5th & 6th Amendment is clear and if we allow mob mentality to take control and deny due process then what happens when they come after me to deny due process. Maybe it will be you the reader who they come for in the middle of the night to take you into the darkness. SHAWN JARYNOlast_img read more

BLOG: Protecting Pennsylvania’s Seniors

first_imgRead more agency year in review blog posts.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf By: Teresa Osborne, Secretary of Aging BLOG: Protecting Pennsylvania’s Seniors January 14, 2016center_img Government That Works,  Healthcare,  Seniors,  The Blog,  Year in Review Ensuring that Pennsylvania’s government is working for all citizens of the commonwealth is one cornerstone of the Wolf Administration. In my department, we are thrilled that one of Governor Wolf’s top priorities is to protect older Pennsylvanians from all types of abuse and to ensure that they can age in place, in their homes and communities, with the dignity and respect they deserve.Given the state’s commitment to these values, the Department of Aging strives daily to serve, protect, enable, and empower the commonwealth’s 2.7 million persons age 60 and older who call Pennsylvania “home.”By working with the Governor’s Office and other state agencies on initiatives intended to promote quality of life and provide quality care to older adults, the Department of Aging serves as the focal point of state coordination and planning for all long-term services and supports.Our success is in our capacity to demonstrate how we work to support older Pennsylvanians by providing key assistance, such as community-based long-term services and supports, as well as pharmaceutical benefits that keep people healthy and active in their homes and communities.Improving Medicare AssistanceDuring 2015, the department’s State Health Insurance Counseling Program (SHIP), commonly referred to as APPRISE, provided free, unbiased assistance to help guide Medicare beneficiaries through their many health insurance options, including Medicare and Medicaid, Medicare supplement insurance plans, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare prescription (Part D), long-term care insurance policies, and other health insurance and public benefit programs.As a result of these efforts, 6,541 individuals were enrolled in “Extra Help” or the low-income subsidy, 2,787 were enrolled into a Medicare Supplement Program, and our APPRISE Program ranked 7th among all states nationwide by the federal Administration on Community Living (ACL) which evaluates the performance of all SHIP programs.Improving Hospital AccessAdditionally, on November 30, 2015, Governor Wolf announced that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania had reached a decision in the UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) and Highmark Medicare Advantage case.In this decision, the Supreme Court affirmed and upheld the ruling handed down earlier in the year by the Commonwealth Court preserving in-network access to UPMC hospitals and doctors for nearly 182,000 western Pennsylvania seniors with Highmark’s Medicare Advantage health insurance plans until 2019.Our department’s APPRISE Program staff played a significant role in ensuring this successful outcome, as the final opinion of the Supreme Court pointed directly to the testimony offered by the APPRISE Program. This decision is not only a victory for the commonwealth, but also a huge victory for seniors across western Pennsylvania. Moreover, a decision like this strikes at the heart of why the leadership and presence of the APPRISE Program is so important.Improving Senior SafetyIn September 2015, the department was notified by the Federal Administration on Community Living that ‘Healthy Steps for Older Adults,’ a falls prevention program, was deemed to meet the highest-level evidence based criteria established by the ACL.This honorable distinction was achieved following a rigorous evaluation and testing period and allows the department to continue to qualify for funding and to make the program available for other states to replicate.Improving Prescription AccessAs the administrator of the PACE (Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly) Program and PACENET Program, the department provides comprehensive prescription coverage to older Pennsylvanians while also protecting program participants from adverse drug events.Since its inception, through the PACE Program, the department has implemented several initiatives intended to support the needs of older Pennsylvanians through the PACE Program.One such initiative is the SUSTAIN (Supporting Seniors Receiving Treatment and Intervention) Program. In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, support is offered to best address the behavioral health needs of low-income, elderly persons who live in the community. The program’s goal is to identify community-dwelling elders at risk of poor health outcomes, including nursing home admission, and to support those elders and their primary care physician to manage their mental health care, consistent with evidence-based guidelinesDuring the past five years, over 4500 seniors have been engaged through this program. In October 2015, the work of the SUSTAIN program received the American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Services Achievement Bronze Award, a distinction that recognizes another facet of the proactive, positive steps taken every day to ensure that older Pennsylvanians are served and protected.Improving Direct Care Worker EducationIn addition, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Homecare Association’s online ‘My Learning Center’ tool, we saw a 28% increase in new site users. As a result, there are over 14,150 more direct care workers who accessed free training on topic areas such as Elder Abuse and Neglect, Understanding Dementia and Pain Management for older adults thus providing better care and protection to those who need it most.On Track for Another Great YearI am delighted to continue the great work of my department in 2016. I know that with the successes of 2015 as our foundation, Pennsylvania will continue to see tangible results of the Wolf Administration’s commitment to seniors.For more information on the Department of Aging’s programs and services, please visit aging.pa.gov or call 717-783-1500. SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more