State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Pittsburgh) announced today that he will soon introduce Senate Bill 400 to address flaws in Pennsylvania’s health care system.

“It is time that we address the grave deficiencies that are an unavoidable shortcoming of the market-based health insurance landscape,” Ferlo said. “A statewide, single-payer health care plan will save enormous amounts of money, while at the same time providing universal coverage for Pennsylvanians. It is a clear win-win scenario.”

Ferlo said that his legislation, called the Pennsylvania Family and Business Health Care Security Act of 2009, carefully and thoroughly sets out a blueprint for the bold steps necessary to accomplish the following goals:

* Quality medical, dental and mental health care for every Pennsylvanian.
* Establishment of an efficient Health Care Trust owned and controlled by the people of Pennsylvania as the single payer for health care services thus eliminating the existing wasteful and inefficient system of multiple third party payers.
* Preserve patient choice and privacy. Patients will continue to pick their own doctors and hospitals, but will be covered by a health care trust fund.
* Relieving employers from the responsibility of selecting, pricing, and administering health insurance.
* Elimination of all traditional health insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
* Full funding of prescription drugs while leveraging the buying power of 12 million Pennsylvanians to lower the cost.

“Ever increasing health insurance premiums coupled with increasing numbers of uninsured citizens makes it paramount that we come up with innovative solutions,” Ferlo said. “A single payer plan offers those solutions and much more.”

He added that his plan does not propose to replace Medicare, so the costliest cases will continue to be covered federally, although, Pennsylvania would pick up all of the health costs for the elderly and disabled that are not covered by Medicare.