catching up on mail from last week:
State Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, and a bipartisan group of his House colleagues today announced significant legislation to create a Health Insurance Reform Implementation Authority to coordinate and manage the health insurance options available to Pennsylvanians and streamline the process which currently spans three separate state agencies.
The bill would consolidate the health-care-related operations of the Department of Health, the Department of Public Welfare, and the Insurance Department under a new state authority.
“With the enactment of health-care reform in Washington, it is important that the General Assembly move quickly and deliberately to ensure that these reforms are implemented efficiently in our Commonwealth and these benefits flow seamlessly to all Pennsylvanians,” said Shapiro. “This landmark law will require a strong state and federal partnership and thoughtful planning in both the private and public health-care sectors. Pennsylvania must be a partner in the extensive coordination effort to provide access to quality and affordable care in our state.”
Pennsylvania currently offers private sector health insurance through Medicaid, adultBasic and Cover all Kids. The federal health-care reform law will add to that menu by creating the Health Insurance Exchange to allow small businesses and individuals to pool their purchasing power so they can buy health insurance at reduced rates. Shapiro authored similar language to allow for such pooling which passed the House last year.
“My proposal would give residents one-stop shopping for their health needs, save taxpayer dollars by creating more efficiencies, ensure access to quality care and make us more nimble to make changes as the new law evolves,” said Shapiro.
This authority would be the entity to receive federal funds associated with the administration of the Health Insurance Exchange and the high risk pool, and it would collapse the current staffing and funding streams for Medicaid, adultBasic and Cover All Kids into one authority with the intent of decreasing the overall administrative costs of the operation of these programs. The authority would be charged with ensuring that enrollment systems are consumer friendly and, to the greatest extent possible, efficiently integrated.
The legislation also provides for the creation of a board of the authority with four members from the House and four from the Senate, two public members appointed by governor from a list submitted by the General Assembly, the secretary of Health, the secretary of Public Welfare, the Budget secretary, and the state Insurance Commissioner.
Shapiro represents the 153rd Legislative District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and has been selected as one of 32 state legislators nationwide, named the “White House Team of State Legislators for Health Reform.” For more information, visit www.pahouse.com/Shapiro.