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What will the next Pa. governor do about health reform?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010



When Pennsylvania’s new governor takes his seat, he could have lots of say about how the federal health law is rolled out in Pennsylvania.

Robert Simmons leads the public health program at Thomas Jefferson University. He wondered at the forum how candidates Tom Corbett and Dan Onorato will implement the federal law as governor.

Simmons: The answer, of course, is we don’t know for sure, but I’m pleased to hear that in the platforms of both gubernatorial candidates it seems like many of the changes for health information technology – they both support that. The fear of course is that some of the things that we hear about and read about in the press could make Pennsylvania not take an as strong and active role.

Governor Rendell’s health reform czar Ann Torregrossa said she thinks both candidates will continue Pennsylvania’s plans to coordinate care better for people with chronic conditions. She’s also hoping the the plan to build a state-level electronic health records system will survive.

Republican candidate Tom Corbett, who is the attorney general, has joined a lawsuit challenging the health law as unconstitutional.

Several panelists said they’re worried that a Republican-controlled House of Representatives would repeal the law, but other supporters said a bigger worry is Congress stalling the roll out — and refusing to allocate money to key provisions.

Torregrossa said she wants to hear more from the candidates.

Torregrossa: Much of this act has to be implemented by the states and there’s never been a time, or a more important issue about which to have a vigorous discussion about what’s going to happen in Pennsylvania and I’ve just not seen that happen.

Torregrossa thinks both candidates will continue Pennsylvania’s initiative to better coordinate care for people with chronic conditions.

She’s also hoping the the plan to build a state-level electronic records system will survive.

The conference was hosted by the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University.

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