Pennsylvania

Pass Cover All Pennsylvanians: our visit to the Northeast

(Philadelphia - 3/4/08) - Outside the City of Philadelphia's Neighborhood Health Center #10 Tuesday, Philadelphia leaders gathered to call on the Northeast House Delegation to support Cover All Pennsylvanians [CAP]. "As a person working without insurance, I'm at risk every day of losing my job because of an injury or sickness whose care I won't be able to pay for," said, Andre Butler, Chair of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project Board and member of the Health Center #10 Community Board.

Speaking through a representative, Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, Don Schwarz, MD, said in a written statement, "It is for this and many other reasons that I am standing with you all today, as health care is being debated in Harrisburg, to affirm my support for CAP, Cover All Pennsylvanians, a proposed health insurance package that would prove health insurance to the uninsured in Pennsylvania."

A hearing of the State House of Representatives Appropriations Committee considered the benefits and funding sources for CAP this afternoon. CAP would cover doctor visits, tests, hospitals stays and prescriptions. Most of the funding would come from existing pools, with a slight increase in tobacco taxes covering the rest. A vote on CAP and reforms in the small group insurance market is expected in the State House next week.

Rx4PA: Doctors join the call for covering the Uninsured

govwithfumoweb.jpg

On Monday we saw Governor Rendell stand with leaders in the Salvation Army and Democratic Legislators. While I'm always excited to find myself on the same side as the Democratic Appropriations Chairman, Sen. Vince Fumo, the real news Monday was that doctors are coming out in numbers saying that they support the Prescription for Pennsylvania. The Orthopedic Society came out and said that they could support using some of the tobacco tax money used to offset their medical malpractice liabilities for covering the uninsured. The Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association took the same stance.

Rx4PA: Doctors join the call for covering the Uninsured

govwithfumoweb.jpg

On Monday we saw Governor Rendell stand with leaders in the Salvation Army and Democratic Legislators. While I'm always excited to find myself on the same side as the Democratic Appropriations Chairman, Sen. Vince Fumo, the real news Monday was that doctors are coming out in numbers saying that they support the Prescription for Pennsylvania. The Orthopedic Society came out and said that they could support using some of the tobacco tax money used to offset their medical malpractice liabilities for covering the uninsured. The Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association took the same stance.

The Legislator and The Agitator: Guns & Scandal Edition

On November 24th, Rep. Payton and I recorded our second edition of The Legislator and The Agitator. You can download the episode in four individual tracks here.

01-The House Democrats Bonus Scandal

(14:57)

Introduction to the November 24th, 2007 show.

Discussion of the House Democrats recent firing of major staffers around large bonuses given to legislative staff.

We'll move into the issue of Reform and Rep. Payton's freshman class of Harrisburg Legislators.

02-Costing out - will the state ever pay for schools?

(16:07)

Good Schools Pennsylvania convinced the state to do a costing out study on what it would actually cost to pay for students around the state so we can do a better job of realistically discussing how much money we need to pay for schools. It started a big conversation on YoungPhillyPolitics.com.

Tony and Brady discuss the great amount of political maneuvering around this information as well as the lack of the real initiative to find the cash. Will it happen? Can it?

Also, Brady tells about the time that he fought back against a really big bully.

It makes sense in context.

Click "Read More" for the next two tracks!

Healthcare: if you're waiting for a market solution, the market has already made it's opinion pretty clear.

“Despite an upturn in the overall economy, the loss of health insurance coverage through employers has continued,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC), a non-partisan policy research project that analyzes state tax and budget matters. “Health insurance, which for a long time came as a basic benefit to a decent, middle-class job, is quickly disappearing for many Pennsylvanians.” From a press release found here.

Ward bases her comments on a new study on employer based health coverage that's out from the Economic Policy Institute.

Republicans like to paint themselves as pro-business and pro-market, but if you look at a lot of the policies some of them espouse around healthcare, it's really just pro-certain-really-rich-people. This is an important difference. Why? Click "Read More" to find out.

New Podcast: The Legislator and the Agitator, with Rep. Tony Payton and Brady Russell

Tony Payton for State Rep

Click to download the first episode of

The Legislator and the Agitator. Rep. Payton and I were talking recently about the lack of podcasts about Pennsylvania politics. We're both pretty involved in it in our own way, so we had the idea of starting our own podcast. The intent is to give the inside and the outside perspective of two people working on the same political side. This is our first episode. In the future, we'll go more into each other's background and also try to spend more time talking about how we do what we do.

This first podcast is pretty topical, though. Show notes below. It's a little under an hour, but divided into four main segments, of about 15 minutes each. In other words, we have your next four walks to/from work covered. Fire up that Ipod, Pennsylvania!

Hit "Click More" to see the Show Notes!

What's at Stake Nov. 6: PA Courts. Warning: Scalia Admirer on Ballot.

OK, so the Philly mayor's race has gotten kind of dull. There's still a LOT at stake in the Nov. 6 election, to add to mansei's recent post. Here's the scariest example, and it's recent:

Pennsylvanians who will soon put two new justices on the state's highest court can choose between candidates including a follower of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia or an admirer of former liberal justice William J. Brennan Jr.

Rx4PA: The public's wide and deep support for healthcare reform and insurance for all!!!

Participants from Philadelphia heading to Harrisburg on October 2nd!

Here's one of the four buses that came from Philadelphia to rally for health insurance for low-income workers, and reforms in everyone else's health insurance program. All in all, about 150 to 200 Philadelphians made there way up to Harrisburg to back up the Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania.

Health insurance's stifling pressure and how PA could have a comparative advantage

The Inquirer reported this week that health insurance costs about the same as an economy car to cover the family each year.

Some standout quotes from the piece by Jane Von Bergen:

Health insurance premiums for the average family topped $12,000 in 2006 - more than the cost of an economy car - according to an annual survey released yesterday.
...
"It's the growing anxiety on the part of the public which is moving health care up the political agenda," said Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the California-based foundation.
...
Annual premiums average $12,106 for families, with workers, on average, picking up $3,281 of the cost. Coverage for singles costs $4,479, with individuals paying $694.

Workers in companies with fewer than 200 employees pay a larger share of the premiums for family coverage than do their counterparts in larger companies.

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