Pennsylvania Considers Universal Health Coverage
Pennsylvania is one of at least nine states considering proposals to provide universal health insurance for residents, but lawmakers are divided over what type of program will work the best, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports.
State lawmakers are considering plans for a single-payer health care system, which would be run by a government agency, as well as "a patchwork" of other plans "that essentially expand existing programs to fill gaps in coverage for the uninsured," the Business Times reports.
The single-payer plan would assess a 10% tax on gross payroll and a 3% tax on investment and other types of income. Employers who offer health benefits would pay a reduced payroll tax. The bill likely will not move out of the state House Insurance Committee this session, but the committee will hear testimony on universal health coverage this month in anticipation of a bill that will be introduced next session.
State Rep. Tony DeLuca (D), co-chair of the insurance committee, said a single-payer system in the state would lack bipartisan support, while a plan based on a Massachusetts law enacted this year might not be feasible in Pennsylvania (Mamula, Pittsburgh Business Times, 9/1).