HARRISBURG, MAR. 24, 2009 –The Pennsylvania Senate today passed legislation authored by Sens. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland/York) and Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) reauthorizing the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).

Under Senate Bill 89, PHC4 would be reauthorized until 2014. The council collects data from hospitals, freestanding ambulatory surgery centers and some managed care plans, and provides it to consumers in a comparative format so they may make educated decisions on the purchase of their health care. PHC4 has required legislation to extend its existence periodically since its founding in 1986. The authorizing statute expired most recently on June 30, 2008, and the council was temporarily extended by executive order until June 30, 2009.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

“Enactment of this legislation will end the uncertainty regarding the current status of PHC4,” Vance said. “In these economic times it is vital to have information that allows us to use our health care dollars more effectively. The council offers a valuable service to consumers and health care providers by supplying them with information concerning quality of care and charges for procedures.”

“Health care is such a crucial issue right now and consumers and lawmakers alike need to have access to reliable information,” Fontana said. “The reauthorization of PHC4 ensures that we have data that we can use to take steps toward cutting health care costs, improving health care service, and helping more people obtain affordable health care.”

Vance’s district includes all of Cumberland County and Carroll, Fairview, Franklin, Monaghan, Warrington and Washington townships and Dillsburg, Franklintown and Wellsville boroughs in York County.

Fontana’s district includes part of the City of Pittsburgh and several municipalities west and south of the city in Allegheny County.

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