Advocates for a single-payer health care system got a long-awaited hearing at the Pennsylvania Capitol Wednesday.
Supporters want to establish a government-run health care trust fund. They say everyone in Pennsylvania could get their care paid for, if the state collected a 3 percent income tax from individuals, and a 10 percent payroll tax from business. Chuck Pennacchio leads Healthcare for All Pennsylvania.
"This is the time to shift the discussion over to the state level, this is
really about federalism and giving the states the opportunity to model a
doable system to cover everybody, SB 400 is the ultimate answer."
Groups representing Pennsylvania doctors, the insurance industry and small business oppose the plan. Kevin Shivers is the Pennsylvania director for the National Federation of Independent Business says the single payer health care system doesn't do what needs to be done about cost...
"Creating a new government bureaucracy that's going to include benefit
plans that are clearly politicized because they are going to be created by
the government, isn't actually going to be reducing the cost, in fact we
think, like every other program run by the government, it's just going to
balloon and cost more in the future."
Pittsburgh area State Senator Jim Ferlo sponsored the legislation to collect
taxes and create a statewide health care trust fund. He says it was a coup
to get the bill considered before the Republican-controlled Senate Banking
"Even those who were may be not sympathetic to a single-payer, Medicare
for All plan recognize the tremendous support this legislation has around
the state and want to at least be respectful to their constituents who do
support it. Yes it's a movement in progress, it's a works in progress.
Senate Banking Committee Chair, Republican Don White, warned that any fundamental changes at the state level would likely be made irrelevant by coming national reforms. Proponents of the single payer system have been trying to move a bill ahead for several years.