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Secretary Cortes Calls Latino Community to Action Against Ailing Health Care System
Date:5/1/2008

Death Toll Due to Lack of Health Care Coverage Twice 2006 Homicide Rate

PHILADELPHIA, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes today echoed Governor Edward G. Rendell's call for Senate passage of legislation to provide affordable health care for every Pennsylvanian, and he extended the challenge to the Latino community.

"The only way to cure the health care crisis afflicting hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians is to immediately remedy an ailing system," Cortes said during a press conference and community outreach event at the Maria de los Santos Health Center in Philadelphia.

Cortes was joined by Pennsylvania Insurance Department Deputy Commissioner George Hoover; Concilio Executive Director Roberto Santiago; Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Varsovia Fernandez; Delaware Valley Health Vice President and Chief Medical Officer A. Scott McNeal, D.O.; and Delaware Valley Health Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brenda Robles Cooke.

On average, two Pennsylvanians died every day in 2006 because they lacked health insurance, according to Families USA, a health care advocacy group.

Nationally, lack of health insurance was responsible for twice as many deaths as homicide in the same year.

"The Rendell administration refuses to accept that 767,000 of our fellow Pennsylvanians face each day in fear that there is no affordable health care for them, their loved ones, or their employees," he said. "I encourage the Latino community to refuse to accept it, too, and to contact their legislators today."

According to the state Insurance Department, the health care crisis is everyone's business. Approximately 6.5 percent of insurance premiums paid by businesses and individuals is spent on covering the health care costs of the uninsured.

"Public opinion polls show increasing anxiety about the current health system, as more em
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State
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