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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 10, 2020 03:59 PM
From: Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Uncompensated Care for Uninsured COVID-19 Patients
As Pennsylvania faces the global Pandemic known as COVID-19, we must address the reality of hospitals finding themselves in scenarios they never could’ve planned for.  With 5.5% of Pennsylvanians uninsured (704,000), and hundreds of thousands out of work, which means they lose employer provided insurance coverage, our hospitals will inevitably be confronted with an unprecedented amount of uncompensated care.  We have the ability to take action now, in order to maintain the viability of hospitals across the Commonwealth. 
I am proposing the creation of a fund, paid for by a bond, allowing hospitals to apply for reimbursement for a portion of the uncompensated care directly related to COVID-19.  Make no mistake, this is not an attempt to create a handout to hospitals, but rather a program that will prevent financial ruin for those without insurance and have contracted Coronavirus.  As we know, medical related debt can devastate someone’s credit and plague them for years. 
This unprecedented crisis calls for uncommon compassion.  We cannot allow our fellow Pennsylvanians to be saddled with the debt that comes along with battling a disease that as of yet has no cure or common treatment.  In these trying times we must find ways to alleviate the collective burden, I believe my legislation will help do just that. 
The Governor just announced today that the Commonwealth will be using PENNVEST funds to assist hospitals with the purchasing of equipment and supplies.  His announcement proves Pennsylvania is taking steps to properly mitigate the ever expanding role of critical healthcare in our state.  I believe my legislation will take this commitment a step further by addressing what is the most significant new cost facing hospitals as they fight on the front lines against COVID-19.
I respectfully ask for your support by cosponsoring this crucial legislation.