HARRISBURG (October 14, 2008) –Sens. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland/York) and Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today announced plans to reintroduce legislation to reauthorize the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).
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 extended until November 30.
Fontana authored legislation in April to reauthorize the council. The bill passed the Senate in June but has languished in the House Insurance Committee. Vance and Fontana’s bill would reauthorize PHC4’s authority until 2013.
“We hope that reauthorization can be one of the first orders of business,” Vance said. “The Governor has unfairly tied PHC4 to the expansion of state subsidized health insurance. Reauthorization of PHC4 should be allowed to stand on its own merits. Instead the Governor continues to hold PHC4 employees hostage and deny future consumers the benefit of their work.”
“Because we were unsuccessful in extending the sunset provisions of PHC4 this legislative session, we must make it an absolute priority to be accomplished when we begin the 2009-10 Legislative Session,” Fontana said. “The reauthorization of the Act facilitates long-range thinking and purchasing that benefits health care purchasers and consumers and allows the continued provision of reliable health care information that helps contain health care costs and improves health care outcomes.”
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.