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Pennsylvania Health Secretary Tours the State to Discuss the Importance of Health Insurance for All Pennsylvanians
Date:3/3/2008

PHILADELPHIA, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Health Dr. Calvin B. Johnson today kicked off a statewide tour to discuss Governor Edward G. Rendell's plan to provide access to health insurance to hundreds of thousands of uninsured adults through his "Cover All Pennsylvanians" proposal.

"Access to affordable insurance is critical -- not only to prevent disease -- but successfully manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes and asthma," said Dr. Johnson during visits to the Montgomery County Health Department and Cheyney University. "Governor Rendell has proposed a strategic and workable way to give Pennsylvanians access to health coverage that they need and deserve."

Governor Rendell's "Cover All Pennsylvanians" proposal will give uninsured individuals -- and small businesses that currently do not offer insurance -- the chance to buy affordable, basic insurance in the private market that will cover physical and behavioral health care and prescriptions. An estimated 767,000 Pennsylvania adults are uninsured.

Secretary Johnson's four-day tour will include 16 stops in counties including Chester, Montgomery, Erie, Westmoreland, Mercer, and Clarion.

"Since health insurance is critical in receiving care, I'm here to inform and engage our health care partners to join the fight to enact the Governor's plan," said Dr. Johnson. "Everyone needs to get involved now to make our health care system work for every Pennsylvanian."

Under the Governor's proposal, CAP will be paid for with a combination of funds from different sources, including a 10 cents increase in the cigarette tax, Pennsylvania's first ever smokeless tobacco tax, and surplus funds from the Mcare abatement program. The Mcare abatement fund is used to reduce doctors' out-of-pocket costs for medical malpractice coverage. The account has a surplus because of the improving medical malpractice climate in the state.

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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