PA Chamber: House Missed Opportunity to Address Access to Affordable Health Care

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry today expressed disappointment that the state House rejected proposals that would have provided greater options for individuals in need of affordable health-care.

This week, the House passed legislation (H.B. 838) that would provide health-care coverage to dependent children up to age 30 who meet certain other eligibility requirements. Prior to final passage, the House rejected a number of amendments that addressed access to care. Among the amendments was a provision that would have enabled employers to offer basic benefits plans to employees.

"Health-care reform is without question a significant undertaking, but there are steps that lawmakers can take right now to help lower costs and increase access to care, while not overburdening future generations of business and individual taxpayers," said Gene Barr, PA Chamber Vice President of Government and Public Affairs.

Barr said basic benefits plans are mostly free of costly government mandates (Pennsylvania has 40 health insurance coverage mandates, which help drive the cost of insurance premiums). Combined with the use of Health Savings Accounts, basic benefits plans would enable more employers to afford health-care coverage for employees. In turn, the option would also result in individuals being more involved in their own health care.

"We need to address the factors that are driving costs, and we need to take steps to offer cost-saving options," he said. "The House had a chance to do that. Unfortunately, it chose to ignore meaningful initiatives that would ensure health-care coverage for more Pennsylvanians."


The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy organization, with its statewide membership representing nearly 50 percent of the private workforce. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of Business.