Governor Calls For Prompt Action On Prescription For Pennsylvania

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Prescription For Pennsylvania

At a state Capitol rally attended by hundreds of concerned Pennsylvanians, Governor Edward G. Rendell urged the General Assembly to promptly act on the unfinished components of his innovative "Prescription for Pennsylvania" health care reform initiative, including his landmark Cover All Pennsylvanians insurance proposal.

"In the United States -- the richest nation in the world -- we have a moral responsibility to make sure everyone has access to health care," Governor Rendell said. "Those without access to health care are not the poorest among us, but are overwhelmingly the working middle class."

The plan to Cover All Pennsylvanians -- or CAP -- will provide all uninsured residents access to affordable health care coverage. CAP will focus on the people and small businesses that need the most help in paying for health insurance.

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Under the Governor's plan, small business employers will be able to participate if they have 50 or fewer employees who earn less than the state average wage. Employers who choose to join CAP will pay approximately $130 per employee per month, and each employee will pay a premium of up to $70 per month depending on the employee's family income.

Governor Rendell said the proposal would "level the playing field" for small businesses that already are "doing the right thing" by providing health insurance to their employees.

"Seventy-one percent of the uninsured in Pennsylvania work for a living, and nearly half of them work for small businesses," Governor Rendell said. "The vast majority of businesses should be wildly in favor of this bill once they understand it -- it is the best thing that could happen to small business."

Governor Rendell thanked Rep. Michael Sturla (D-Lancaster) and Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) for sponsoring legislation related to his Cover All Pennsylvanians proposal.

Portions of the Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania already have been enacted. In July, the Governor signed bills allowing advanced-practice nurses, physicians' assistants and dental hygienists to practice to the full extent of their education and training, and a bill to more aggressively attack and eliminate hospital acquired infections.

The Governor's reform plan will help to curb soaring health care costs that threaten continued economic expansion and needlessly cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year.

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