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PHAN’s Healthcare Policy Agenda for PA’s Response to COVID-19

May 5, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed significant flaws in our healthcare system, and this agenda is aimed at shorter-term fixes that will keep Pennsylvanians safe and healthy in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Ensure Pennsylvanians have Comprehensive Health Coverage

In a public health crisis, no one should be left without a plan that doesn’t cover them when they’re sick. Pennsylvania should:

  • Reduce the impact of short-term, limited-duration (known as “skimpy”) health plans
  • Use Medicaid to cover all uninsured people during the pandemic for COVID-19
  • Eliminate any remaining cost barriers to COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses

Read more about Coverage During a Pandemic.

Ensure Pennsylvanians have Affordable Health Coverage

With millions of Pennsylvanians losing their job or losing income, affordable coverage is more important than ever. Pennsylvania should:

  • Introduce competitive coverage options through a Medicaid Buy-in or public option
  • Guarantee that coverage will not be terminated for financial hardship through grace periods, waiving late fees, and a moratorium on cancellations
  • Lower premiums through subsidy enhancements for young adults purchasing on the Marketplace
  • Advocate for additional federal investment in Medicaid

Read more about the Affordable Health Coverage.

End Surprise Medical Bills

Surprise medical bills deter people from seeking treatment and cause financial devastation when they do.
The crisis increases the odds that people will get a surprise bill. One in three people already do. Pennsylvania should ban the practice while ensuring providers are paid fairly and people do not see higher costs.

Read more about Surprise Medical Bills.

Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs

Family budgets are strained, and the high cost of prescription drugs has become more of a burden than ever before. Pennsylvania should act to lower drug prices & ensure any vaccine for COVID-19 is free.

Invest in Public Health

Pennsylvania should make investments that support frontline workers and keep the programs protecting Pennsylvanians during the crisis strong. Pennsylvania should:

  • Invest in a coordinated community-based contact tracing now and for the future
  • Protect all frontline and healthcare workers with personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Ensure adequate and accurate testing for COVID-19 and related conditions
  • Reduce disparities by making equitable investments in communities across the state

Read more about Investing in Public Health.

This COVID-19 agenda is only a first step; we recognize that a successful recovery from the crisis will have to address deep-seated health disparities, health equity, reinvigorating our safety net, and much more. In the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing a follow-up agenda to address these longer-term priorities.