RE: [ProgressivesforPennsylvania] PA House Dems block doctors subsidy bill
This brief article below that MacConald passed on to us is so misinformed it just makes me sick. Rendell blackmailed the Republicans and doctors by threatening to end the malpractice subsidy if his bill did not get passed. He has now made good on his threat, and Pennsylvania will likely lose some doctors as a result. Many others will see their cost of doing business increased, and that cost will be passed on to their patients since the insurance companies are unlikely to help absorb the cost. Rendell’s bill, though passed by the House, is unfunded. It relied in year one on $254 million from the MCare fund which he cannot now get because he has let the MCare Fund to be shut down. It relies on another $120 million from the Legislature even though it does not suggest where the Legislature get the money. It is an unfunded mandate that has virtually no chance of being voted the funds it seeks even if the bill also passes the Senate which is unlikely.
The number of 272,000 people this bill would insure includes 53,000 people already covered by Adult Basic. Those people would be folded into the new plan, but their premiums would go up by $10 per month which is a lot of money for someone earning between 150 and 200% of the poverty line. So even if things had gone according to plan, only 219,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians would have obtained insurance, and it would have taken five years to get there. In those five years more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians will likely lose their coverage, so all the Rendell bill would have accomplished would have been to slow down slightly the growing number of uninsured while adding to the financial burden of the poorest among us by increasing their premiums.
As far as that 766,000 uninsured number, Rendell has been pitching his bogus 767,000 number for a long time. That number comes from a highly flawed survey conducted for the Pennsylvania Insurance Bureau, and it is radically lower than every other estimate out there. In the Eachus amendment it mysteriously morphed down to 766,000 without so much as a footnote to explain the new number. As usual in the article below, some lazy reporter accepted his or her stenographic role and simply used the Eachus number without bothering to ask where it came from.
As things stand now even the scaled down Eachus bill is dead because there is no funding for it. So all Rendell will have accomplished in the end is to increase the cost of insurance for the lucky few who are already enrolled in Adult Basic. That may be what he planned all along. I’m sure his buddies in the insurance industry are pleased.
Nevertheless, there is an opportunity here. Since even the scaled-down Eachus amendment is now dead, there is a greater need than ever for our Legislators to support HB 1660 and SB 300. The single-payer bill covers everybody and pays for itself. The talking points against it are bogus. The 10% payroll tax represents a huge reduction in cost for any business that currently covers its employees, and the 3% personal income tax surcharge also represents a huge reduction in healthcare costs for all but the wealthiest among us. The bill is also projected to pay for itself, and thus will not be a burden on the State budget. Those who argued that the Governor’s “incremental approach” to healthcare reform was more practical now have no excuse for refusing to support the single-payer bill.
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