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Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Ceremonially Signs Four Health Care Bills That Will Reduce Costs, Improve Access and Quality
Date:7/1/2009

deaths occur amounts to approximately $21.8 million dollars. Approximately 3,500 other patients a year survive an adverse event for which charges are an additional $316 million a year.

In January 2008, the Department of Public Welfare implemented a policy to prohibit hospitals to bill Medicaid for 27 "never events," such as operating on the wrong patient, medication errors that result in death or disability and bad blood transfusions.

The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Tony M. DeLuca (D) and a similar bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Donald C. White (R).

House Bill 1089: Federal COBRA law, which allows those who lose their jobs to continue paying for health insurance through their former employers for a period of time, applies to all employers with 20 or more employees. The concept of providing continuation coverage to small businesses with fewer than 20 employees was initially proposed by Sen. Corman as SB 189. This bill, which was sponsored in the House by Rep. Robert F. Matzie, allows employees of small businesses who lose their jobs to continue receiving their health insurance at their expense for up to nine months.

This is particularly important because the federal stimulus plan permits employees who lose their jobs and who qualify for COBRA to receive a federal government subsidy of 65 percent of the premiums for the coverage, so long as the employee pays the remaining 35 percent. So, in Pennsylvania, any employee of a small business who is terminated after July 10, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010, will be eligible for the subsidy. Because of the high cost of individual and continuation health care coverage, this financial assistance is critical to helping these individuals to afford to continue their former employer-based coverage under Mini COBRA.

Senate Bill 89: This bill, also supported in the Governor's Rx for PA, reauthorizes the Pennsylvania
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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