Race to pass PA insurance bills

    Competing democratic and republican plans to provide greater access for medical care in Pennsylvania are under pressure to pass during the final days of this year’s legislative session. Both sides say a compromise may be the final solution. From WHYY’s health and science desk Kerry Grens reports.

    Competing democratic and republican plans to provide greater access for medical care in Pennsylvania are under pressure to pass during the final days of this year’s legislative session. Both sides say a compromise may be the final solution. From WHYY’s health and science desk Kerry Grens reports.

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    Transcript:

    Several bills that are part of the Senate Republicans’ Healthnet PA plan emerged victorious from committee votes in the Senate today. Republican Senator Edwin Erickson says the bills include support for community health centers, a free drug registry program, and insurance coverage for young adults.

    Erickson: Together as a package with some of the other things that we’ve done, we believe that you can increase the number of people in the commonwealth who would be covered up by our various pieces of this plan up to 507,000 people.

    But the republican package of bills is more focused on providing direct medical care, rather than subsidizing health insurance like the democrats’ plan, which passed the House last spring. Bob Caton, spokesman for democratic representative Todd Eachus, says House Democrats feel the Pennsylvania Access to Basic Care plan — or ABC — is a superior option.

    Caton: Ideally we could reach a compromise, but if it were up to us we’d really prefer PA ABC to become the law of the land.

    The democrats’ plan has been stuck in a senate committee for months. Doctors, patient advocates, and democrats have been pleading for the senate to pass the ABC plan. Senator Erickson says the republican caucus will not approve the plan because it is unaffordable.

    Previous stories:

    Jen Rehill’s report from Harrisburg Health insurance bill continues to meet resistance in PA State Senate (9/17/2008)

    Peter Crimmins’ report Doctors pushing stalled PA “Health Care for All” bill (9/17/2008)

    Kerry Grens’ report Lawmakers to act on health insurance (9/4/2008)

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