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Americans Neglect Health Insurance

The attitude of Americans about health insurance has the government worried. The governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has joined the governors of the states// of California and Massachusetts and announced a plan to implement some form of universal health care insurance for residents of his state.

Announcing his plan on Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell said, 'Every year, Pennsylvania businesses, consumers and taxpayers pay at least $7.6 billion for unnecessary and avoidable health care costs. That is money that isn't improving the quality of care we receive, nor making Pennsylvanians healthier. It doesn't make sense. We should be redirecting that money to fix our broken health care system.'

Around 900,000 Pennsylvanians lack insurance. More than 46 million Americans lack health insurance. This represents nearly 16 percent of the population including college students, staff of small businesses and children.

Rendell's plan is called the 'Prescription for Pennsylvania,' and is intended to increase access to inexpensive health care coverage, perk up the quality of care, and reduce health care costs for employers and employees.

Rendell said it was high time the state did something to control health care costs.

'We can no longer stand by while health care costs spiral out of control, leaving some 767,000 adult Pennsylvanians without the basic health care they need. It's creating a drag on our economy,' Governor Rendell said.

It is no longer a question of whether we can afford to act. The cost of inaction is far greater in terms of individual health consequences and from the increasing burden on taxpayers. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a fiscal policy analysis center based in Washington, DC, many states face looming shortfalls in funding stop-gap health insurance for children. That means states either have to find more money or more children will become unin sured in 2007. The Pennsylvania Medical Society thinks that Rendell's plan for universal health care coverage is a good start, as long as it focuses on delivering good patient care.

'The Pennsylvania Medical Society applauds the Governor for his leadership in proposing needed reforms to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care in Pennsylvania,' Mark A. Piasio, MD, MBA, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, said in a statement on Wednesday.

'The Pennsylvania Medical Society feels strongly that needed reforms must focus on the patient, reinforcing the importance of patient-centric care,' Piasio continued.

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