A PA plan to avoid federal insurance mandates

    A group of Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania say they’re joining a states-rights uprising to oppose health reform proposals before Congress. The rally was held today on the steps of the state capitol in Harrisburg.

    A group of Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania say they’re joining a states-rights uprising to oppose health reform proposals before Congress. WHYY reports on a rally Wednesday at the Capitol in Harrisburg.

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    The rally didn’t attract the Republican powerhouses in the legislature. It was well stocked with Tea Party Patriots some of the same Pennsylvanians who came out in force this summer to oppose a public health insurance option. Now they’re supporting a proposal to change the state constitution. A spokeswoman for House Republicans says the amendment would exempt Commonwealth residents from federal mandates to purchase health insurance.

    Chester County Representative Curt Schroder says he wants to protect a patient’s right to pay directly for health care.

    Schroder: The freedoms to have their own insurance, the freedom to pay for procedures above and beyond what a government plan might limit them to. And just basically, you know, rejecting more federal control over their lives.

    The plans now before Congress allow patients to get coverage wherever they choose, but Schroder says Pennsylvania needs to act proactively to make sure the reform plans don’t morph into a single payer system or make it illegal for people to get care outside of a government-run plan. Schroder says at least 20 states have introduced similar bills.

    Tioga County Representative Matt Baker is the Republican chair of Pennsylvania’s state House health committee. He says the Commonwealth needs a backup plan in case the health overhaul plans before Congress become law.

    Baker says his bill would prevent government intrusion into a Pennsylvania patient’s health care decisions.

    Baker: We are very concerned about quality, access and being able to make individual freedom, liberty decisions, in who they can see, how they can be treated — and not by a government-controlled bureaucracy.

    The new bill package would require a Constitutional Amendment, that’s a multi-year process including approvals by the General Assembly and Pennsylvania voters.

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