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In Johnstown Governor Rendell Launches 'Tour to Insure;' Urges Passage of Plan to Give Access to Affordable Health Insurance
Date:10/11/2007

JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Just one week after Cover All Pennsylvanians, the centerpiece of his "Prescription for Pennsylvania," was introduced in the Legislature, Governor Edward G. Rendell today held a town hall meeting in Johnstown as part of his statewide "Tour to Insure." The five-day, nine-stop tour will highlight the need to lower health care costs and expand coverage. Cambria County has the 15th highest rate of uninsured adults in Pennsylvania.

"One-in-seven adults in Cambria County don't have insurance, which means they are more likely to forgo needed care, get sicker more often and for longer," said Governor Rendell. "We need to remember that these are not just statistics -- we're talking about real people who work hard every day to provide for their families, but still don't have access to affordable health care. The current situation is bad for businesses and bad for workers and it needs to change."

Governor Rendell said Cambria County was a stop on the "Tour to Insure" because it has one of the highest rates of uninsured in the state, with more than 14 percent of its population uninsured. The Governor said his Cover All Pennsylvanians (CAP) health insurance initiative and the rest of his Prescription for Pennsylvania will help every person in the commonwealth.

A key component of the Governor's plan is reducing costs for everyone by reducing the estimated $7.6 billion in avoidable costs in Pennsylvania's health care system. The legislature passed provisions designed to reduce the $3.5 billion spent treating avoidable hospital acquired infections, the $1.7 billion wasted because of inadequate management of chronic diseases and the $965 million spent on avoidable medical errors and readmissions to hospitals.

But more needs to be done, the Governor said.

"My Prescription for Pennsylvania sets out a common sense plan to attack all the problems driving up the cost of health care for businesses and individuals," Governor Rendell said. "We know that attacking chronic care management, hospital acquired infections, and more aggressively overseeing the insurance industry will save everyone money and will make sure we're doing the right thing for people."

Over the past five years, the cost of health care in Pennsylvania has gone up 75 percent while average wages have only increased by 13 percent. If historical trends continue, the cost to insure a family of four in 2011 would top $20,000 per year, representing about one-third of the annual household income for a family of four. However, according to the Governor, if the entire Prescription for Pennsylvania package were adopted, a small business would save between 20-30 percent and a large group would save at least 16 percent by 2012.

Cover All Pennsylvanians - or CAP - is the Governor's proposal to expand access to affordable health insurance for small businesses and the uninsured. This portion of the Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan was recently introduced in both chambers of the legislature by Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) and Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) as HB 1870 and SB 1117, respectively.

"I applaud Sen. Costa and Rep. Sturla for their leadership. By introducing our CAP legislation, they are helping us reach our goal of expanded access to health care. I encourage the legislature to quickly take up and enact these bills so that all Pennsylvanians have access to health care coverage."

Details of the Governor's health care reform initiative may be found at http://www.rxforpa.com.

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For a list of all 67 counties, go to RxforPa.com.

Top Ten Counties with the Highest Per-Capita Uninsured Population

Total

Number of Uninsured % Rank

Adults Adults Uninsured highest

(19-64) (19-64) Adults per capita

Tioga 21,718 7,721 35.6 % 1

Forest 2,453 663 27.0 % 2

Warren 23,570 5,325 22.6 % 3

Crawford 47,142 8,814 18.7 % 4

Philadelphia 801,005 138,950 17.3 % 5

Susquehanna 23,637 4,025 17.0 % 6

Jefferson 24,719 4,139 16.7 % 7

Mercer 60,945 10,039 16.5 % 8

Perry 25,502 4,107 16.1 % 9

Allegheny 691,148 108,835 15.7 % 10

Cambria 78,905 11,295 14.3 % 15

* Figures derived from the 2004 Health Insurance Survey conducted by Market Decisions LLC for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

CONTACT:

Amy Kelchner-GOHCR

717-346-8379


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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