Health care has been the single most important domestic issue in America. In March 2010, the U.S. Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act. The measure, suggested by President Barack Obama, was then signed into law. The Affordable Health Care Act drastically overhauls and improves health care in America. It provides better health security, lowers health care costs, guarantees more choice, and enhances the quality of care for all Americans.
Health care is an economic and a personal issue. It’s an economic issue because health care inflation has strangled productivity and used key resources that could have been reinvested.
It is a personal issue because as economic instability continues, more Americans spend a greater portion of their family budgets on health care. As employers grapple with the high cost of health insurance and drop health care from employee benefit packages or, alternatively, as Americans lose jobs families will begin looking at alternatives to supplement gaps in their care. As a result, health care insurance will become increasingly important. Thus, passing substantive health care legislation that is affordable, equitable, and fiscally sound will be imperative.
Here in Pennsylvania, we have been in the forefront of the health care issue. I have worked diligently with the governor and the Secretaries of Health and Welfare on a number of health care related issues in an effort to ensure that all Pennsylvanians receive adequate health care.
Some of those issues include:
- Providing the uninsured with quality health care through the adultBasic program. Launched in 2002 to cover the basic healthcare needs of Pennsylvanians between 19 and 65 who have no health insurance, adultBasic covered over 90,000 Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, in 2011 this program was defunded by the Corbett Administration. More information can be found here.
- Pennsylvania has gone beyond the federal model of the CHIP Program by offering health insurance to all uninsured children with the “Cover All Kids” policy. This means that every uninsured child is eligible for health insurance under CHIP or Medicaid.
- The Pennsylvania Health care Cost Containment council has been instrumental in helping keep health care costs down in Pennsylvania by giving comparative information about the most efficient and effective health care providers to individual consumers and group purchasers of health services.
My own efforts to improve health care in Pennsylvania have been wide-ranging and far-reaching. I have diligently fought against the staggering number of uninsured Pennsylvanians by introducing and supporting legislative initiatives to add more people to Pennsylvania’s adultBasic Program.
In addition, I worked to see that the original CHIP bill passed the General Assembly and was signed into law in the early 1990’s and I continue to work to make sure that the program is funded at adequate levels.
My wife Sheryl and I have made it our life’s work to promote HIV-AIDS research, testing and outreach. There is still so much to be done to eradicate HIV-AIDS. I will also continue to fight for funding and be the lead advocate for programs and services that battle cancer.