Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Reinstated
Gov. Ed Rendell (D) on Tuesday signed an executive order reopening the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council one week after it was closed due to budgetary constraints, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The order allows the council's 44 employees to return to work, after being laid off on July 1.
The council is an independent agency that is "considered a national leader in studying the quality of health care and its cost at the state level," according to the Inquirer (Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/9). The order also allows the council to continue working until Nov. 30 (Fahy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/9). However, the long-term future of the council is "unclear," according to the Inquirer. The Legislature must approve a five-year authorization for the council.
Erik Arneson, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R), said, "The governor's decision to reopen the council by executive order proves that his action to shut it down last week was unnecessary."
Rendell spokesperson Chuck Ardo said the administration could not act until it was confirmed that the council's $5 million budget was included in the final budget document. House Speaker Dennis O'Brien (R) said he was relieved the employees and the large amount of sensitive patient information in the council's possession would be safe, adding, "They do quality work. They deserved to be re-established. I am glad the governor stepped up to the plate" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/9).
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