Dermody lauds House action on major health care legislation

HARRISBURG, June 11 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said the Pennsylvania House of Representatives took a major step toward better health care for state residents by voting today to establish a state-run health insurance exchange.

“We have the opportunity to help 400,000 people struggling to afford good health insurance for themselves and their families,” Dermody said.

“Currently these consumers have to buy their health insurance on the federal exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act. But the ACA also gives states the option to set up a state-specific exchange to connect insurance sellers with customers,” Dermody said.

“By setting up a state-based exchange and leveraging federal funds to set up a re-insurance program to better manage risk in the individual market, we can better control premium increases in Pennsylvania.”

Dermody noted that because the new state entity would be a full partnership with the federal government, it does not require new taxes or assessments. In fact Pennsylvania will be able to operate its exchange at a lower cost than the federal exchange and use those savings to provide additional insurance to Pennsylvania residents.

He praised the bipartisan effort which led to today’s vote and thanked Republican Leader Bryan Cutler, as well as Reps. Tina Pickett and Tony DeLuca, the Republican and Democratic chairs of the House Insurance Committee.

“We also got great support and suggestions from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department throughout the drafting of this legislation, ensuring that this plan will work for Pennsylvania,” Dermody said.

“It’s a bipartisan Pennsylvania-based solution to protect the health of Pennsylvanians and make the dollars we spend on health care here in Pennsylvania go much further.”

The legislation (H.B. 3) now goes to the state Senate for consideration.