We spent much of 2017 defending the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare as Congress made attempt after attempt to roll back coverage gains.
We remain committed to protecting these programs in 2018, and we are watching closely for any further attempts to undermine them. We know, however, that as we’ve collectively focused on defending these programs, healthcare costs for folks across PA have continued to rise, and many struggle to get the care they need.
So, we’re releasing our state-level policy agenda for 2018. We hope you’ll join us in proactively pushing for a better healthcare system for all Pennsylvanians.
With high-deductible, short-term plans on the rise and rapid increases in prescription drug pricing, we must take steps to address the affordability of health plans and reduce the costs of needed treatments and care, even for folks who are covered. There are immediate steps our lawmakers can take to address this issue:
- Increased transparency in prescription drug pricing, a move we hope will ultimately lead to lower prices.
- An end to practices – like surprise medical billing – that unfairly put the burden of healthcare costs on patients.
- Pursue state-based reforms that would stabilize the insurance market, like a state-based individual mandate, state-based reinsurance program, or stronger oversight in the rate setting process.
COVERAGE THAT MEANS SOMETHING
You may have health coverage, but if the treatment you need isn’t covered or you can’t find a doctor in your area, it means very little. Here are some ways that we’re working to improve the quality of health coverage in PA in 2018:
- Working to make sure that Medicaid plans include enough doctors and other providers within each PA county.
- Pushing for increased access to oral health coverage through Medicaid and reduced red tape to access it.
- Pursuing state-level regulations to limit the use of short-term (and unregulated) health plans the Trump Administration is pushing for in yet another attempt at ACA sabotage.
CARE OUTSIDE THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE
Many folks in PA – particularly seniors, people with disabilities, and people with substance use or mental health disorders – need us to think more creatively about what allows them to stay healthy and participate in their communities beyond a doctor’s care. PHAN will actively advocate for these creative solutions:
- Health isn’t just about seeing a doctor, and if you don’t have a safe place to live, you can’t stay healthy. PHAN is working to ensure that high-risk folks have safe housing, a cost-effective intervention that keeps people out of the hospital.
- Seniors & people with disabilities need to be able to access a range of services in their homes to stay healthy and live well in their communities. A new state program launched this year aims to do just that, but PHAN is working to make sure its implementation goes smoothly and that plan members are getting the services they need.
TELLING THE REAL STORY OF MEDICAID
Contrary to the narrative that we sometimes hear, Medicaid is an efficient, effective program that covers millions of Pennsylvanians, mostly children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Before the next big attack on Medicaid in Washington or Harrisburg, PHAN is focused on both telling the real story, and on making the program even more efficient by:
- Launching our #MedicaidWorksforPA campaign, aimed at dispelling stereotypes about Medicaid and telling real-life success stories about how well the program works for Pennsylvanians.
- PHAN is working directly with state agencies to make Medicaid even more efficient than it already is, through creative solutions that create incentives for hospitals and doctors to provide better, evidence-based care at a lower cost.