A Sick Plan

Posted: March 17, 2008

EVERY DAY, two Pennsylvanians die from lack of health insurance.

This depressing fact is one of the main findings of a study by Families USA, which looked at Pennsylvania in their first-ever, state-level study of the impact of health insurance - or rather, its absence.

In 2006, they estimate that more than 700 people died due to lack of health insurance; in the span between 2000 and 2006, the number was 4,800. And across the country, twice as many people died from lack of health insurance as die from homicide.

The study is well timed: today, lawmakers in Harrisburg are expected to grapple with two health-insurance related bills. One would expand coverage to an additional 220,000 adults and another would make it impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to be denied coverage.

The plan to expand coverage, called Access to Basic Care, is the House Democrats' compromise to Gov. Rendell's Cover All Pennsylvanians; ABC falls far short of the number of people the governor's plan would cover. But at least it's a start at solving this looming problem. And now we can see how many lives are at stake. *

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