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State senator introduces Pa. health care plan

Sen. Jim Ferlo has introduced a bill to design a comprehensive health care plan for Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 400 would establish the Pennsylvania Health Care Plan to provide coverage through one benefit package for any state resident, according to the legislation presented on Wednesday. The proposal outlines eligibility, services, cost containment and tracking quality of care received.

The proposed bill, know as the Family and Business Healthcare Security Act, also would introduce the Pennsylvania Heath Care Board to oversee the plan and the Pennsylvania Health Care Agency to administer it.

SB 400 proposes the health care board comprise 12 voting members appointed by the governor and with consent of the majority of the Senate. The board would include:

Three patients or caregivers who experience the health care system daily

  • A physician
  • A hospital representative
  • A health care attorney
  • Health care informatics representative
  • A small business representative
  • A large business representative
  • An organized labor representative from the health care industry
  • A public health representative

The proposed bill highlights four quality-of-care panels to oversee the plan along with the board: health professionals, health institutions, health suppliers and health care moderators. The panels would create policies and recommendations for delivery of cost-effective and quality health care to plan beneficiaries.

The proposal’s health care plan’s goals include controlling health care costs, achieving improvements on health care outcomes, promoting a culture of health awareness and developing a database for health care planning and quality, according to the proposed bill.

Funding for the proposed plan would be obtained through federal health care programs, state taxes and any other sources to be specified later, according to the proposed legislation.

Ferlo, D-Alleghany, Armstrong and Westmoreland counties, has as submitted SB 400 to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for further review.

Holly White

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