HARRISBURG, November 20, 2008 – Sens. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland/York) and Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today thanked Gov. Ed Rendell for extending the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council’s (PHC4) work, but called on him to help address the issue statutorily.

The Senators announced last month they will introduce legislation as soon as the new session begins to reauthorize PHC4’s authority until 2013. Fontana authored legislation in April to reauthorize the council. The bill passed the Senate in June, but languished in the House Insurance Committee.

“I appreciate the governor recognizing the important work performed by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and not temporarily furloughing the workers as he did in July,” Vance said. “Sen. Fontana and I hope that we can count on the governor to support our legislation. Not only will it allow the Commonwealth to continue as a leader in health care data collection, but it will bring some stability to these council employees who have been forced to live in a state of flux for too long.”

“Rising health care costs continue to hurt employers and employees alike – and is why the formal reauthorization of PHC4 has to be a priority,” said Fontana.  “The work of PHC4 guarantees that health care purchasers and consumers have reliable and transparent information about the value of their health care.  With that information, competition is increased, money and lives are saved, and consumer-directed health care continues to advance.”

PHC4 was created in 1986 to address rapidly growing health care costs. 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.   Its authority has been renewed periodically in the ensuing years and expired most recently on June 30, 2008. By executive order its work was been extended twice since then and will now expire June 30, 2009.

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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