State-Based Healthcare Reform Bill Passes PA House, Heads to Senate
A Bill making its way through the Pennsylvania legislature would allow the state to set up its own exchange for health insurance. Currently, the federal government runs that program. With a vote of 198 to 1, House Bill 3 passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday. The House Majority and Minority Leaders introduced this Bill together, and say it will save taxpayers money.
“About 400,000 residents currently buy insurance off of the federal exchange. By moving to a state-based exchange off the re-insurance program, these 400,000 individuals should see lower premium payments in the out years because of the savings that could be implemented by taking control locally,” says House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler.
Currently, the Federal Government operates the insurance exchange for Pennsylvania, and it costs about $90 million to do so. By switching to a state-based exchange, House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler says it would cost about a third of that. Both Majority Leader Cutler and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody introduced this Bill, and they say it goes beyond political parties.
“I think it sends a pretty strong message that the two leaders can get together, agree on a Bill, get what the Governor and the Administration need to get done, and help save the taxpayers money,” Minority Leader Dermody says. “I think we need to look beyond identity politics, and look for what is best in this case for the consumers, or those buying insurance here in the Commonwealth,” adds Majority Leader Cutler.
Under House Bill 3, the Federal Government would give Pennsylvania a 1332 waiver, allowing the state to provide re-insurance, which would lower rates for consumers. Majority Leader Cutler says this legislation would allow Pennsylvanians to keep more money in their pockets.
“This will increase access, decrease cost, and increase opportunities, and I think that’s a good recipe for all Pennsylvanians,” Majority Leader Cutler says. “Because of the cost savings mostly, and we’re closer to the folks, and it’s a Pennsylvania plan, a Pennsylvania exchange, I think that’s important. But the most important thing is we cans ave taxpayer dollars while providing healthcare,” Minority Leader Dermody adds.
House Bill 3 now moves to the Senate for consideration. If approved, it would then head to the Governor’s desk, where it would be up to him to sign House Bill 3 into law. It’s likely the Governor will sign it, as indicated in a release his office sent out Tuesday.
“States with their own health care exchanges are already saving money and Pennsylvania can do the same,” Gov. Wolf said in the release. “Let’s get this finished and in place with continued bipartisan support,” he added.