News & Brews July 19, 2021

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No-bid contract requests topped $340 million in 2020

By now we’re familiar with the multi-million-dollar no-bid contract awarded to Insight Global, the contact tracing vendor that leaked the private health data of more than 70,000 Pennsylvanians. But this contract was only one of many requests for “emergency procurements” in 2020. Spotlight PA looks at some of these requests, the price tag of which totaled more than $340 million last year, as compared with an annual average of $81 million. The piece also notes that lawmakers will hold hearings this week to look into this no-bid process that lacks oversight at taxpayers’ expense.

Employers struggle to find workers, as debate continues over why

PennLive reports that employers in central PA are facing a worker shortage, but disagreement exists over the reason. While one union-funded economist blames reasons including child care difficulties and the minimum wage, others in business and industry say enhanced unemployment benefits are to blame.

Op-Ed: Justice needs her blindfolds back

With statewide judicial elections just a few months away, our president and CEO Matt Brouillette has an op-ed recounting multiple partisan rulings by our state Supreme Court and emphasizing the need to elect judges dedicated not to a party stripe but to the rule of law.

Most PA hospitals lag in price transparency

Here’s some great reporting from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on where hospitals across the state stand on the requirement that they post the costs of medical procedures online so patients can compare prices in shopping for health care. So far, only about 25% of Pennsylvania’s 163 acute care hospitals are following the rule, with the rest complying either only in part or not at all. Read more here.

Upcoming school funding case could impact PA education spending

The Tribune-Democrat takes a look at the school funding lawsuit trial set to begin in September. While the case questions our current system of school funding, the greater question is whether the judiciary will ultimately decide it should inject itself into education spending decisions, which are the purview of the Legislature.

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