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Group: Pennsylvania Will Lead the Way in Healthcare Reform

December 5, 2008

Harrisburg, PA - Hundreds of people will gather in Pennsylvania's capital this weekend to work toward a single-payer health care system. They say it would save lives and the economy, adding Pennsylvania's innovation would serve as a model for a national health care solution.

The group, Health Care for All Pennsylvania, is holding what it describes as a "call to action convention" in Harrisburg Saturday, where they will promote single-payer healthcare as a simple concept - health care would be provided privately at hospitals and clinics, but paid for publicly by the government. The group argues the plan would eliminate the insurance "middle man."

Director Chuck Pennacchio says the Pennsylvania state legislature is currently considering bills to do just that.

"We'll see remarkable outcomes as a result of House Bill 1660 and Senate Bill 300 passing, and then we'll model it here at the state level. Then, the Barack Obama administration will be able to point to Pennsylvania as the state that's proven this really is the national solution."

The single-payer system can help the economy, says Pennacchio, by saving $.35 on every health care dollar that is currently lost to what he calls the "profit-first" insurance industry.

"Our bill projects that Pennsylvanians will save approximately 15 billion dollars that we can then pour back in terms of taxpayer savings. It will save lives, it will save our economy, and it will generate jobs for the state of Pennsylvania."

Critics say single-payer health care is nothing more than socialized medicine, but supporters say the government has little to do with the actual delivery of services. The state bills have bipartisan support, and Governor Rendell has pledged his support. Proponents hope the measures will be signed into law late next year, and take effect in January 2010.

Kelly Glorioso Fodel, Public News Service - PA