Pennsylvania Fails To Expand Health Coverage As Economy Weakens

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Pennsylvania's two-year legislative session is ending without a compromise on overhauling the state's health care system, as sought by Gov. Ed Rendell (D), but the state is "far from alone" in its failure to expand coverage to the uninsured, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Republican lawmakers in the state objected to Rendell's proposal, saying that a weakening state economy would require tax increases to sustain the coverage expansion.

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According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, similar proposals in several other states -- including California, Illinois and New Mexico -- also were defeated after lawmakers could not agree on how to fund the plans. Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, said, "Health reform at the state level is a very heavy lift for any state," adding, "What you also see is, health reform ... is easier when economic times are good and more difficult to accomplish and more difficult to sustain when the economy goes down."

To date, Massachusetts has had the most success in reducing the numbered of uninsured residents in the state through its landmark health insurance law, which took effect in 2006, the AP/Inquirer reports (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/11).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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