I am responding to a May 4 op-ed by Rep. Eugene DePasquale, in which he defends PA ABC, a proposed expansion of taxpayer-subsidized, government-controlled health insurance. While Mr. DePasquale’s intentions are honorable, his justification is not sound.
He cites an estimate that uncompensated care for the uninsured costs Pennsylvania providers $1.4 billion—costs which are passed on in higher insurance rates. But Rep. DePasquale fails to mention that his proposal would cost about $1 billion annually, to only cover one-fourth of the currently uninsured. He also fails to note studies showing that persons on government insurance (Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and programs like PA ABC) are more likely to use emergency rooms than the uninsured, and government payments to providers are less than what the uninsured/cash payers pay. In other words, government health care programs are driving up the rates of private insurance.
Instead of PA ABC, lawmakers should focus on reforms that will reduce the costs of health care and coverage, both for the uninsured and for the 11 million Pennsylvanians that have coverage.
Here is another take on RendellCare by Gary Hornberger.