House GOP Task Force Points Out Serious Flaws of Health Care Legislation Passed Today
6/29/2009
The House Republican Health Care Task Force called House passage of legislation that would create a new health care entitlement program by extending and expanding the state’s adult Basic program, which currently helps to cover the uninsured, disappointing and pointed out the flaws of the proposal that will lead to higher taxes while not adequately addressing the state’s uninsured population.
 
The task force, led by Reps. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks/144th), Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster/43rd) and Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster/100th), reiterated its support for ensuring that all residents have opportunities for affordable and accessible health insurance but cited House Bill 1’s tremendous weakness that it creates a promise that cannot be kept.
 
“House Bill 1 creates more questions than provides answers and solutions,” said Watson, who authored several amendments that would have strengthened the legislation. “This legislation is based upon approval of a waiver from the federal government – a contingency that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has told us is not automatic and would probably be denied. It also depends upon one-time monies, dwindling tobacco revenues, and a new tax that will likely be passed on to health insurance policy holders. We need a health care plan that brings down the cost of health care without burdening Pennsylvania taxpayers with a huge price tag.”
 
“We had a good opportunity to fix many of the bill’s weaknesses earlier this month, but House Democrats shot down our amendments and would rather focus on the Band-Aid quick-fix than a solution that can help all 12 million Pennsylvanians,” said Cutler, task force co-chairman. “When I asked the bill’s sponsor – Majority Leader Todd Eachus -- during floor debate today what will happen if the federal waiver is not approved, he couldn’t give me an answer. How can we pass policy that will have an enormous price tag on residents and businesses if we do not know its full impact?”
 
The task force members believe there are too many holes in House Bill 1, and the legislation should have received a full vetting from health care experts and federal officials before being debated by the full House. At the same time that significant health care reform is being considered in Washington, D.C. whatever federal proposal is adopted will impact health care policy here in Pennsylvania.
 
The task force pointed out that the adultBasic program was created in 2001 to serve as a health care safety net, not as a health care entitlement program. In total, 92 percent of state residents are covered by some type of health insurance plan, and House Bill 1 does not even come close to addressing the 8 percent who are not covered, many of whom choose not to be insured. In fact, the legislation only seeks to cover less than one-third of the adultBasic waiting list and would drop current adultBasic enrollees if the federal waiver is not approved.
 
In addition, House Bill 1 would impose a new tax on existing health care insurance policies, thereby encouraging employers to drop private coverage and force more people onto government-run plans.
 
“The proposal is extremely expensive, at a time when the Commonwealth is facing a $3.2 billion deficit, and could very well lead to the Canadian-style of rationing health care services,” said Boyd. “We have a plan that not only address the high cost of health care, but that helps to make it more affordable and more accessible to every Pennsylvanian, without costing taxpayers and businesses an extra penny.” 

House Republicans have been at the forefront of creating sustainable health care policy by putting patients and doctors in charge of health care decisions, not government bureaucrats.

To learn more about the House Republican Health Care Task Force’s proposal to increase access and affordability to health care in Pennsylvania, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Rep. Katharine M. Watson
144th District
(717) 787-5452
Rep. Scott W. Boyd
43rd District
(717) 783-6422
Rep. Bryan Cutler
100th District

(717) 783-6424
Caucus site: PAHouseGOP.com
Contact: Jennifer Keaton or Holly Lubart
Phone: (717) 705-2094 or (717) 260-6217