HARRISBURG, January 15, 2008 – Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) joined his Senate Democratic colleagues today in calling for the General Assembly to provide health insurance to all Pennsylvanians by Valentine’s Day. The “Have a Heart” Campaign was begun in late December when attempts to tie legislation regarding doctors’ malpractice assistance to passage of health insurance legislation was defeated in the Senate.
“The issue of health care for the uninsured is not a new issue, but the Senate has yet to begin talking about the many proposals that are being offered to address this problem,” Fontana said.“And it is a problem – there are 767,000 Pennsylvania adults who do not have health insurance and 70% of those adults are working. Either they can’t afford the health insurance or their employer does not offer it – which means those individuals don’t get care when they need it. The cost to taxpayers is $7.6 billion a year.”
The “Have a Heart” campaign is aimed at beginning a wider debate about improving access to health care in Pennsylvania and taking a good look at proposals that are being offered – and setting a deadline for which legislators can aim. Senator Fontana has indicated his hope that there will be hearings on the variety of proposals and that taxpayers and residents will have the opportunity to testify and provide input on how these options would impact their lives.
Fontana urged Pennsylvanian’s to contact their representatives in the Senate and House to encourage them to act now to stem the growing cost of health insurance and the number of uninsured in Pennsylvania – and to work proactively towards the Valentine’s Day deadline.