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The Movement for Black Lives announces a new proposal to overhaul policing and invest in Black communities; NJ and DE have primary elections today; and some political candidates join in a Facebook advertising boycott.

PA Health Insurance as Simple as A-B-C?

June 9, 2008

Philadelphia, PA – Could health insurance access be as easy as ABC? Pennsylvania families have been asking for choices in their health care coverage, and the state Senate will soon take up the House-approved "Access to Basic Care" bill, nicknamed "ABC." It would allow the state to offer its own health insurance, to be purchased by lower-income, working families.

Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, a Philadelphia obstetrical anesthesiologist, is with the National Physicians' Alliance, a group that represents 800 doctors in the state. She says physicians like the idea of a new type of health insurance on the market, because it would allow those whose employers don't offer health care coverage, or who can't afford it, can purchase what they need.

"This is not a gift to anybody. This is a reduced-rate insurance program that, absolutely, people would have to pay premiums for. It's an insurance product for the currently-uninsured people in Pennsylvania, nearly 80 percent of whom work."

Critics say a state-funded insurance plan will be too costly for taxpayers, and would encourage small businesses to drop their health care coverage. Arkoosh argues that the program is hardly a "freebie," but rather is a viable option for those families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid coverage, but not enough to pay more than $10,000 a year for a private insurance policy.

The bill is SB 1137 – the Senate has until the end of the month to act on the legislation. The House-approved version is HB 2005.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - PA