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Providing Affordable Health Care Coverage Cited as a Top Priority, Commissioner Says

CORAOPOLIS, Pa., May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A bill pending in the state Senate could address Pennsylvania's most critical health care crisis for the hundreds of thousands who lack health insurance, a top Department of State official told nursing students in Coraopolis today.

Joined by approximately 250 nursing students and professionals at an informational session at the Crowne Plaza, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Commissioner Basil Merenda said the bill would provide uninsured Pennsylvanians access to health care.

Merenda also echoed Governor Rendell's call for the passage of the PA Access to Basic Care program, which was recently passed by the state House of Representatives. His call came during an event that also provided information about professional licensure, current and future nursing regulations, and continuing education opportunities.

"As professionals who care for us, you know better than most how critical health care is," Merenda said. "PA ABC would help uninsured Pennsylvanians get access to the medical care that could keep various illnesses and injuries from escalating to emergencies, and help alleviate the demands our nurses already face."

In Pennsylvania, 767,000 adults are uninsured. According to advocacy group Families USA, approximately 710 working-age Pennsylvanians died as a result of lacking health care in 2006. Of those Pennsylvanians who lack insurance, 70 percent said cost is the main reason, a state Insurance Department study found.

Governor Rendell's Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan, which was introduced in 2007, would ensure access to affordable health insurance for all Pennsylvanians; expand access to health care; improve the quality of care; and help bring health care costs under control for employers and workers. For more information about the governor's plan, visit

Today's informational session precedes tomorrow's State Board of Nursing meeting, which will be held at 9 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1160 Thorn Run Rd., Coraopolis. The board's meeting is open to the public.

The Department of State's Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs provides administrative and legal support to 27 professional and occupational licensing boards and commissions, including nurses. For more information about the bureau, visit and click on the licensing graphic on the center of the homepage.

CONTACT: Leslie Amoros

Rebecca Halton


SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State
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