Governor Tom Wolf announces health care reform plan for Pa.

Meghann Showers

Governor Wolf says the plan will increase affordability, access, equity, and value for all Pennsylvanians. HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf is pushing a health care reform plan in Harrisburg with three main components that he said will increase affordability, access, equity and value for all Pennsylvanians.  The Governor noted […]

Governor Wolf says the plan will increase affordability, access, equity, and value for all Pennsylvanians.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf is pushing a health care reform plan in Harrisburg with three main components that he said will increase affordability, access, equity and value for all Pennsylvanians. 

The Governor noted that healthcare costs have just kept rising and that causes some people to not be able to afford the treatments they need. He added, “when you have something like this pandemic, it not only puts their lives at risk but they come into contact at risk.”

The Governor’s plan contains three components including an Interagency Health Reform Council, in which Governor Wolf put into place through an executive order Friday. The other two components of the plan rely on the creation of Regional Accountable Health Councils and the General Assembly working on a Health Value Commission.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the legislature on either side of the aisle, on either side of the chamber, who thinks that the way things are in health care in terms of the cost are just right,” said Governor Wolf.

  • Interagency Health Reform Council (IHRC), established with an executive order the governor signed at the press conference today. The council will be composed of commonwealth agencies involved in health and the governor’s office. The initial goal will be to develop recommendations by December 30 to find efficiencies in the health care system by thinking about how to align programs where feasible, including the joint purchasing of medications, aligning value-based purchasing models, and using data across state agencies to promote evidence-based decisions.
  • Regional Accountable Health Councils (RAHCs). The Department of Human Services will add requirements to form five RAHCs across the state into the managed care agreements. RAHCs will be required to collectively develop regional transformation plans – built on community needs assessments – to reduce disparities, address social determinants of health, and align value-based purchasing arrangements.
  • Health Value Commission. The governor will work with the legislature to establish the Health Value Commission, charged with keeping all payors and providers accountable for health care cost growth, to provide the long-term affordability and sustainability of our health care system, and to promote whole-person care. As proposed, the newly created entity would be led by up to 15 commissioners appointed by the governor and the General Assembly who have an expertise in the health care marketplace, including five state agency heads.

The Governor said the pandemic has highlighted the rising costs and magnified health inequities. He said the health reform package would make health care corporations more accountable as well. 

The Governor said more than 1.5 million Pennsylvanians expected to become uninsured.

“We certainly agree that there are changes that can be made to our health care system. But, those things don’t involve more government,” said Jason Gottesman, House Republican Caucus spokesperson. 

Gottesman noted that lawmakers will give consideration to any legislation that is presented to them. However, he said Republicans still have unanswered questions over the Governor’s health care reform proposal such as ‘how will this save costs? how will this not duplicate efforts?’

Gottesman also noted concerns over unemployment, and people losing their jobs as placing another hardship on families during the pandemic.

“That is one of the many concerns that we have had as Republicans: that people are losing their employer paid health care coverage and that’s a significant concern,” said Gottesman. 

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