Pennsylvania Extends Health Care Cost Containment Council
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) on Wednesday announced that he has extended through June 30, 2009, an executive order that allows the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council to continue operating, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Without the extension, PHC4 -- which collects records on millions of hospital visits and outpatient procedures to help rein in health care spending -- would have been shut down at the end of this month. The state Legislature will have the opportunity to renew PHC4 when it convenes in January.
Rendell said, "PHC4 has been responsible for a lot of very, very important advances in the health care delivery system," adding, "I have the power to extend their life span, and I did just that." Pennsylvania Chamber of Business Director of Government Affairs Sam Denisco said, "We are pleased that the governor has essentially given new life to the council" (Goldstein/Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/20). Rendell noted that the agency should reduce its $5.3 million budget by 4.25% -- the same amount other agencies must cut because of a state budget shortfall (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/20).
In related news, Rendell reiterated his pledge not to approve an extension of a program that provides medical malpractice insurance assistance for doctors until his health insurance proposal is approved. The state House on Wednesday, the last day of its 2008 session, rejected a measure to extend the abatement program (Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/20).
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