Pennsylvania's downward trend in employer-provided coverage for children through their parents' employer was also reflected nationally. Some 3.4 million fewer children had employment-based coverage in 2006 than in 2001, and in 2005 a trend of the previous four years-the expansion of public-sector health insurance-reversed, leaving 940,000 more kids without coverage.
Joan Benso, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said the study provides still further evidence that Congress needs to act now to reauthorize the federal SCHIP program. "SCHIP is an example of a state- federal, public-private partnership that effectively fills the gap for children," she said. "Without a strong reauthorization of SCHIP, even more children could lose access to health care."
Small business owners in the state agreed that the cost of providing good health coverage has become exorbitant.
"The best thing the state legislature could do for my small business is to reform the insurance laws," said Bill Hughes, co-owner of Kathie's Christmas and Collectibles in Lower Allen Township. "Without laws that restrict medical underwriting and limit rate increases, I am one illness or accident away from dropping or severely downgrading coverage for my employees," he added.
The state legislature is currently considering Gov. Ed Rendell's "Prescription for Pennsylvania," a comprehensive plan to reduce health care costs and make insurance more affordable for small businesses. The "Cover All Pennsylvanians" program, modeled after the popular "Healthy New York" program, would offer a low-cost insurance option for employers with fewer than 50 employees.
The Prescription would also include legislation to enact additional
consumer protections in the small business insurance market, including rate
review, a minimum
|SOURCE Keystone Research Center|
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