Governor Ed Rendell has signed an executive order that begins to implement many of the key elements of the recently signed federal health care overhaul law.
Rendell said it's essential to begin laying the groundwork for implementation of health care reform.
“It’s important that we start working today to apply for the federal health care funds that are available this year, and to craft a strategic plan to ready this state for the enormous expansion in health care access in 2014"
Rendell said the most immediate task is the creation of a new insurance program to cover adults who have been denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions (high risk pool)...“The federal government allocated $160 million for this insurance program in Pennsylvania and we hope to have a federal application in as soon as possible to help several thousand of these Pennsylvanians finally access reliable affordable health care. We hope that if any legislation is needed they (the legislature) will make sure it is passed before summer recess so that access to health care for these Pennsylvanians isn’t delayed.”
The executive order creates 2 bodies: an internal working group and and advisory committee consisting of insurance industry executives, hospital representatives, medical professionals, unions, health and budget policy experts and consumers.
The internal group is assigned several tasks including:
*Designing the optimal programmatic model for the state’s High Risk Pool.
*Designing the optimal organizational model to support a customer-friendly and efficient health benefit exchange.
*Preparing a strategic plan for the implementation of the new law.
Rendell says the new law will benefit the uninsured, parents and children and the state..."We have estimated what the reforms will cost and what we will save from them. Over the next eight years, the Commonwealth will save from a low of $280 million to a high of $650 million in direct general and lottery fund payments for health care expenditures."