State senator introduces bill to cover uninsured in Pennsylvania
State Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) recently introduced a Senate bill that would provide health care coverage for the uninsured in Pennsylvania.
“The goal of my legislation is to provide affordable health care service for the nearly 800,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians,” Sen. Costa said at a Capitol rally. “We need to act now to address the higher taxes and premiums that those with insurance are subject to because of the uncompensated care provided by health care providers and hospitals.”
“I credit Governor Rendell for addressing this important issue.”
Sen. Costa's ‘Cover All Pennsylvanians' proposal, Senate Bill 1117, does not include the Governor's proposed Fair Share Assessment on businesses that do not provide health care insurance to their employees.
“I recognize the controversial nature of this provision and believe it could hamper serious discussion on this crucial issue in the Senate,” Sen. Costa said. “By leaving that aspect of the proposal out, I hope to give health care reform more attention and priority in the state Senate.”
Sen. Costa's legislation would establish a basic health insurance program to help small businesses provide health insurance to their employees and make reasonably priced health insurance available to uninsured adults.
The legislation mirrors much of Gov. Rendell's health care reform package. Earlier in the year, the legislature enacted other parts of Governor Rendell's plan, including a comprehensive Hospital Acquired Infections bill that will save millions of dollars in health care costs when fully implemented.
Under Sen. Costa's legislation, basic coverage would include preliminary and annual health assessments, emergency care, inpatient and outpatient care; prescription drugs, medical supplies and equipment; emergency dental care; maternity care; skilled nursing, home health and hospice care; chronic disease management; preventive and wellness care; and behavioral health services.
“The vast majority of uninsured Pennsylvanians are employed, and we need to take action now,” Sen. Costa said. “I look forward to extensive and engaging discussion on this essential legislation with my colleagues on both sides of the Senate aisle in the coming weeks.”