Harrisburg Patriot-News: PA legislature to consider mandatory medical insurance
Pennsylvania might join Massachusetts in requiring all residents to have health insurance.
"If you mandate everyone to carry it, then you spread the risk out, and certainly you lower the cost," said state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Allegheny.
"Italian-American legislator on crack! Film at eleven!"
DeLuca is minority chairman of the House Insurance Committee, which next week will hold two hearings on mandated coverage. The goal is to answer questions including:
Should Pennsylvania require all adults to carry health insurance and, if so, what kind of coverage?
Should the state subsidize coverage for low-income residents?
What role should employers pay in providing the coverage?
In March, Massachusetts passed a reform plan that requires most state residents to have health insurance. The plan makes state-subsidized coverage available to low-income residents and requires employers to provide coverage or pay a surcharge.
The Massachusetts plan prompted DeLuca and state Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, R-Delaware, to begin working on comparable bills, said Rick Speese, Democratic executive director of the Insurance Committee. Micozzie is the majority chairman of the committee.
But Micozzie and DeLuca decided to gather more ideas before drafting bills, DeLuca said.
Speese said the goals of the hearings are to hear fresh ideas, rather than "the same thing over and over" from major health care interests. A major obstacle to reform is that large health care interests will fight aspects they don't like, he said.
Yeah, let's hear from the socialist "activist" thugs who want to steal my hard earned money with the help of Democrass and Repansycan criminals. We never get to hear them in front of legislative committees!
"I can't tell you how powerful the health [special] interests are ... there's just an incredible amount of money out there," Speese said.
At least they earn it by providing something worthwhile to the people, you thief. Have you ever made an honest dime in your life?
DeLuca envisions mandated health insurance coverage involving the state's existing health care network and health insurers. He said Pennsylvania is different from Massachusetts in that it already has successful insurance programs for people with low incomes, such as adultBasic and CHIP.
Speakers at the hearings are expected to include representatives of health insurers, Wal-Mart, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.
"I'm hoping it's not the typical political bantering. I'm hoping we're going to sit down and do something," said Dr. Mark Piasio, president of the medical society.
I wouldn't hold my breath, doc.
Piasio said he was glad to see Massachusetts take bold steps. But he said he believes the plan in that state is headed for problems because it includes no provision to hold down costs.
If you hold down costs, you decrease the quality and quantity of care. Just open your eyes and see how the real world works!
Piasio said he believes it is time to make some hard choices about what treatments are necessary and worth paying for. He noted that 40 percent of Medicare spending is for treatments given in the final week of life.
Programs such as Medicare should be expected to pay only for evidence-based treatments that are provided efficiently and that truly make a difference, he said.
Blah, blah, blah...
"You have to have the health care that you need, not what you want," he added.
Piasio said it's unfair to put the full burden of providing health insurance on employers, especially small businesses.
At least they can pass on the increased costs to consumers. The taxpayers you are thinking of screwing again can't just pull more money out of their hats so politicians can buy the votes of the ignorant and poor...And come to think of it, those comsumers who will have to pay those higher prices are also the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Double screwed!
In a separate effort, Gov. Ed Rendell's Office of Health Care Reform has a 100-member panel working on ways to make health care affordable to all state residents.
Because the office is occupied with the panel's final work, it won't accept an invitation to testify at the hearings next week, said Rosanne Placey, a spokeswoman for the state Insurance Department.
Placey said the office is willing to eventually meet with the committee to share ideas.
Rendell's panel has worked in private, (There's a big surprise. - F.G.) but is expected to make its work public later this summer or in the fall.