Will medical industry support health reform?

Speaking March 9 at PHAN's "Getting Everyone Covered" conference in Harrisburg, representatives of the insurance industry, the hospitals, and business/commerce each said in turn that the health care system must be reformed.  Our current system is much too expensive and is unsustainable, they said.

But the discussion was very general and the commitments rather vague.  Are the big players in the healthcare industry so committed to reform that they are prepared to give up some of the advantages they enjoy under the current arrangement?  It's too soon to say.

Baucus promises health legislation

Senator Max Baucus, the Montana senator who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee in Washington, has promised to introduce comprehensive health care legislation in June, certainly before the August recess. 

Baucus' promise was reported in the March 4 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Enacting comprehensive health care reform is my top priority," said the Senator.  "I want to make sure it passes this year."

1 in 3 Americans uninsured

A Families USA study released in early March demonstrates that fully one-third of Americans under age 65 lacked health insurance for a portion of time during the two years 2007 - 2008.

For three-quarters of the 87 million people affected,  the period of no insurance was at least six months in length.  For one-quarter, the period lasted for the full two years. 

Demand for adultBasic overflows

Seven years after Pennsylvania launched a low-cost health insurance plan for working-age adults, demand for the program is overflowing.  According to a March 15 Associated Press story written by Marc Levy and published by the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, 25,000 names were added to the waiting list in February alone, bringing the total on the list to 205,000.

House committee considers small group reform

Pennsylvania is one of only two states that provides no rate protections for small employers buying health coverage for their employees.  As a result, health insurers have almost unlimited freedom to compete for the business they want: employee groups with a low risk of needing medical care.   Small employers, on the other hand, are suffering in Pennsylvania's relatively unregulated market due to the unpredictability and unaffordabilty of rates.  Many have dropped coverage as a result, thus adding to the number of uninsured.