Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bill Would Revive State Health Care Agency

A state agency to help regulate medical costs would get another five years of funding if a bill is signed by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The Senate approved legislation allowing the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) to continue operations through the summer of 2014. Prime sponsor Patricia Vance (R – Cumberland) says it’s hard to tell just how much money the council will receive over a half-decade. “Well, it depends. Their budget has been cut this year, probably because they were reinstated by an executive order of the governor. It depends on how much is allocated every budget year. That’s impossible to tell at this point,” says Vance. She says the program provides a valuable service to people seeking information on health care by indexing the quality and pricing of state hospitals and medical centers. Despite their name, the PHC4 does not have any active power to contain health care costs, though. “I believe that knowledge is power, and if consumers have this information then it’s their obligation to act upon it,” says Vance.

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