Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A final vote on House Democrats’ top priority was put on hold yesterday. The vote on House Bill 1 had been set for Monday afternoon. The bill would expand Pennsylvania’s adultBasic health insurance program by 85,000 people. However, several Democratic lawmakers weren’t at the Capitol, so party leaders pulled the bill from the agenda at the last minute. Democrats hold a slim majority in the chamber, and the vote is expected to fall along party lines. Republican whip Mike Turzai, of Bradford Woods, says he’s concerned about relying on federal funds when Congress is debating major overhauls to the national health care system. “I think the key really is that we need to make sure that adultBasic as it presently exists is healthy, that it’s helping people as best it can. And we shouldn’t be really putting people in jeopardy by trying to federalize this program” says Turzai. Matching federal funds would pay for a portion of the expansion authorized by the bill. Additional revenue would come from Pennsylvania’s medical malpractice fund, and an increased tax on health insurance companies.