PA Chamber Looking For Details on Governor's Proposed 'Employer Health-Care Tax'

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 17, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry said the "Prescription for Pennsylvania" health-care plan unveiled today by Gov. Ed Rendell raises as many questions as it attempts to answer, particularly in regard to its impact on Pennsylvania employers.

"Employers and residents alike are feeling the impact of the health-care cost and access to care crisis facing the Commonwealth," said Floyd Warner, president of the PA Chamber. "While some aspects of the governor's proposal to address the problem have merit, more information is needed on several components. This is particularly true given the additional labor costs on Pennsylvania businesses following the recent minimum wage increase."

Warner expressed disappointment that Pennsylvania employers - which pay the bulk of insurance premiums in the state - were not included in the deliberations in developing the proposal - discussions in which doctors, nurses and organized labor were represented.

"Finding workable solutions to the health-care crisis must entail dialogue with all impacted parties," he said.

Warner also said that noticeably absent from the governor's remarks was any discussion of empowering people to make informed health-care decisions through the use of Health Savings Accounts in combination with high deductible plans, or any call to reform the state's unbalanced legal system, which is driving the cost of health care.

"Any health-care discussion must also address the factors that are driving costs, including mandated benefits and the grossly unfair joint and several liability system," he stressed, noting that as a candidate, Rendell promised to sign joint and several reforms, but vetoed a measure to do so last year.

Warner said the PA Chamber's goal as the debate moves forward is working with the administration and state lawmakers to ensure that the "Prescription for Pennsylvania" doesn't become a prescription for disaster.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with thousands of members statewide. More information is available on the Chamber's website at

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry logo is available at


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