Friday, August 12, 2011

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and direction for grass roots citizen action in health care advocacy, particularly in Southwestern Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh region.  When it comes to health care in our region the issues before us are great and many, complicated and contradictory, economic and human. One thing is certain - we should all have the right to high quality, affordable health care.

We as a region are experiencing a moment unlike any other in recent history, with our dominant health care provider and health insurance provider at interminable odds. The stakes are particularly high because the feuding parties represent three of the ten largest employers in Allegheny County, and account for how the vast majority of our population receives and pays for health care services. 

There are five UPMC and WPAHS hospitals in the Senate district that I represent, and my constituents are beside themselves with the uncertainty of where they will turn for their health care needs. At the same time, informed citizens from every walk of life are beginning to see the UMPC vs. Highmark battle as a blessing in disguise that has exposed the failures of our local health care and health insurance markets. 

 There are a number of significant issues that impact the costs of coverage and care in our region, including: tax exempt status for our dominant health insurer and providers, Certificate of Need (CON), Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) implementation, unreasonable insurance rate increases, Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA), “Conversion” legislation and the distribution of charitable assets... will grapple with these subjects and more within the context of the current conflict. I encourage citizens at the grass-roots level to regularly visit this blog as a place to learn and share your health care experiences or perspectives. My hope is that the community will gain direction for its advocacy efforts, and affirmation in the right to high quality, affordable health care for all.

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