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Governor Rendell's Health Care Reform Cabinet Says Providing Access to Health Care for Pennsylvania's Uninsured is Within Reach
Date:3/4/2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell's health care team today told a state panel that public support for the Governor's Cover All Pennsylvanians continues to grow and, with the addition of a tax increase on cigarettes and tobacco products, there are funds to pay for providing the uninsured access to care.

Additionally, the team told the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee that continuing the Mcare abatement will help health care providers pay for their malpractice insurance.

Governor's Office of Health Care Reform Director Rosemarie Greco, Budget Secretary Michael Masch, Acting Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario and Welfare Secretary Estelle Richman stressed the benefits of making sure the uninsured have access to health care and explained the Governor's plan to make that coverage a reality.

"The costs of the uninsured are borne not only by the individuals themselves but also by those who have insurance in the way of higher premiums," said Greco. "We know that 6.5 percent of every premium dollar goes toward subsidizing the uninsured."

The Governor's Cover All Pennsylvanians, or CAP, program is designed to help low wage small businesses that currently do not offer insurance and uninsured individuals.

A November 2007 report from the Economic Policy Institute showed that, from 2000 to 2007, Pennsylvania had the second-highest loss of employer-based health care coverage for people under 65 years old. In 2007, there were 491,392 fewer Pennsylvanians being covered through their employer than in 2000. Employer-based coverage is still the most prevalent way Pennsylvanians receive health care.

"It's critical that we try to stem this erosion of coverage as quickly as possible," said Budget Secretary Masch. "CAP and the Governor's companion insurance reforms can help stem the loss of employer-based coverage by stabilizing the volatility in premium costs for small
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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