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Pennsylvania Health Secretary Tours the State to Discuss the Importance of Health Insurance for All Pennsylvanians

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.

The cost of paying for care for the uninsured is $1.4 billion a year. About $400 million of that cost is directly paid by the state to hospitals to cover uncompensated care for the uninsured. The remaining amount is paid by the businesses and individuals who do purchase health insurance coverage, as about 6.5 percent of every premium dollar paid goes to cover the cost of the uninsured.

Cover All Pennsylvanians is part of Governor Rendell's sweeping Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform initiative. For more information, visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a list of confirmed stops as of March 3. The Department of Health will issue media advisories for any tour stops that may be added to the schedule.

Tuesday, March 4

10 a.m.

Conemaugh Health System

Memorial Medical Center Main Campus

1086 Franklin St

Johnstown, Cambria County 15905

3:45 p.m.

Warren Pediatric Clinic

145 Pleasant Drive

Warren, Warren County

7 p.m.

Edinboro University

Wiley Arts and Science Center

Room 117

Edinboro, Erie County

Wednesday, March 5

11 a.m.

Primary Health Net

350 Sharon-New Castle Rd

Sharon, Mercer County

11:35 a.m.

ERASE Coalition/Minority Health Center

211 Federal St.

Farrell, Mercer County

1 p.m.

Ellwood City Area Family Center

533 Line Avenue

Ellwood City, Lawrence County

3:30 p.m.

Westmoreland County State Health Center

233 West Otterman St.

Greensburg, Westmoreland County

Thursday, March 6

2:30 p.m.

Alma Illery Family Medical Center

7227 Hamilton Ave.

Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman

(717) 787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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