Pennsylvania Revises Health Insurance Expansion Proposal
In a letter to several state Senate Republicans on Tuesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) described two alternative funding mechanisms for a scaled-down version of his proposal to expand health coverage to more uninsured state residents, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The revised proposals would expand coverage to an additional 250,000 uninsured adults; the previous proposal sought to expand coverage to an additional 270,000 adults.
Under the revised proposals, the annual cost of the plan would range from $723 million to $857 million by fiscal year 2012-2013, according to estimates from the Rendell administration. Rendell said both options would use a combination of existing state revenue and federal funding and would not include any tax increases.
The revised proposals also include funding for health clinics that serve low-income residents, as well as for the MCARE abatement program, which helps physicians pay for medical malpractice insurance. The program expired in March and Rendell said he would not reauthorize it until an agreement was reached on expanding health coverage.
In the letter, Rendell wrote, "Any reasonable person would recognize our consistent willingness to modify our plan," adding, "We remain resolute, however, in the goal of bringing some modest level of health care to at least a portion of the hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens who lack insurance." Some state senators questioned whether the health care overhaul would be affordable in the long run, particularly amid the nation's current economic problems.
The state Senate is scheduled to meet Monday through Wednesday for the last time before the Nov. 4 elections (Raffaele, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/1).
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