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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: August 4, 2017 12:38 PM
From: Senator Mike Folmer
To: All Senate members
Subject: Reintroduction of “Healthy Pennsylvania”
 
With the failure of the United States Congress to reform our health care system, I have decided to reintroduce my “Healthy Pennsylvania” package from 2013 to bring consumer-driven/market-driven initiatives to our Commonwealth.

While the individual impacts of these bills may vary, their collective impact would reduce health care costs while enhancing the quality and accessibility of health care.

The “Healthy Pennsylvania” bills include:
  • Promote Health Savings Accounts – HSAs (previously SB 342 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Vulakovich, Browne, Erickson, Rafferty, White, Pileggi, Alloway, Baker, and McIlhinney);
  • Establish an HSA option for government employees (previously SB 343 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Hutchinson, Browne, Erickson, Rafferty, White, Pileggi, Waugh, Alloway, Baker, and McIlhinney);
  • Sunset Health Care Mandates (previously SB 344 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Erickson, White, Pileggi, Alloway, and Baker);
  • Lift mandates from HSAs (previously SB 345 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Hutchinson, White, Pileggi, Waugh, Alloway, and Baker);
  • Increase Competition among Health Insurance Carriers (previously SB 346 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Browne, Rafferty, White, Waugh, Alloway, and Baker);
  • Establish Tax Deductions/Credits for those who Pay for Health Care (previously SB 347 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Vulakovich, Hutchinson, Browne, Erickson, Rafferty, White, Waugh, Alloway, and Baker);
  • Establish a State High Risk Pool (previously SB 348 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Greenleaf, Vulakovich, Browne, Erickson, Alloway, and Baker);
  • Phase Out MCARE (previously SB 349 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, White, Alloway, and Baker);
  • Exempt Pennsylvania from the Federal Healthcare Mandates (previously SB 350 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Vulakovich, Hutchinson, Erickson, Rafferty, Robbins, White, Waugh, Scarnati, Alloway, Baker, and McIlhinney).
Further details for each piece of legislation are below. Thank you for you consideration.



Document #1

Introduced as SB901

Description: Promote Health Savings Accounts – HSAs (previously SB 342 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Vulakovich, Browne, Erickson, Rafferty, White, Pileggi, Alloway, Baker, and McIlhinney)
 
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were created by federal law in 2003 as privately owned savings accounts funded with pre-tax dollars.  HSAs are similar to 401(k) retirement plans, but rather than allowing people to save for future retirement expenses, they allow people to save for future medical expenses.  Tax credits for small businesses with HSAs help to promote them.
 
HSAs are popular with the previously uninsured.  Government-subsidized health insurance programs tend to attract those who are already insured.  Because HSAs are bound to “qualified high-deductible” health plans, they cost less and reduce spending.
 

Document #2

Introduced as SB902

Description: Establish an HSA option for government employees (previously SB 343 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Hutchinson, Browne, Erickson, Rafferty, White, Pileggi, Waugh, Alloway, Baker, and McIlhinney)
 
In addition to encouraging HSAs for small business, this bill would establish HSA options for state and municipal employees.  A number of other states have taken a similar approach.
 

Document #3

Introduced as SB903

Description: Sunset Health Care Mandates (previously SB 344 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Erickson, White, Pileggi, Alloway, and Baker)
 
Pennsylvania has a multitude of mandates that must be part of all health insurance packages.  Some mandates are said to reduce health care costs while many are believed to increase costs.  If each existing mandate increases costs by just 1 percent, consumers pay almost $400 Million annually in extra costs – yet they have no say in whether these costs are warranted.
 
The first step in giving consumers more choices is requiring each of the current insurance mandates be periodically justified by sunsetting all current and/or proposed mandates after five years – subject to reauthorization by the General Assembly.
 

Document #4

Introduced as SB904

Description: Lift mandates from HSAs (previously SB 345 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Hutchinson, White, Pileggi, Waugh, Alloway, and Baker)
 
In order to provide health care consumers with a basic HSA package, legislation is needed to exempt HSAs from state-mandated insurance benefits.  As noted above, there are numerous mandates currently imposed on health insurance.
 

Document #5

Introduced as SB905

Description: Increase Competition among Health Insurance Carriers (previously SB 346 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Browne, Rafferty, White, Waugh, Alloway, and Baker)
 
The current lack of competition among Pennsylvania health care insurers has hurt consumers because they have few choices on issues of quality and/or costs.  “Healthy Pennsylvania” proposes to increase competition among health care insurers by allowing out-of-state insurers to offer their products from other states in Pennsylvania.  As many of these products do not include existing Pennsylvania health care mandates, consumers will be allowed to choose whether they want coverage with or without current Pennsylvania mandates.
 

Document #6

Introduced as SB906

Description: Establish Tax Deductions/Credits for those who Pay for Health Care (previously SB 347 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Vulakovich, Hutchinson, Browne, Erickson, Rafferty, White, Waugh, Alloway, and Baker)
 
With the ever-increasing costs of health care, more and more people (especially retired people) are covering all or a portion of their health costs.  Proposed tax deductions/tax credits would be:
  • Health Insurance Premium Deduction: authorize 100% of the amount paid for non-reimbursable, qualified health insurance premiums to be deducted from a taxpayer's Pennsylvania taxable income, and;
     
  • Health Insurance Tax Credit: allow self-employed taxpayers (who are otherwise ineligible for the federal income health insurance tax deduction under federal law) to receive a tax credit
 

Document #7

Introduced as SB907

Description: Establish a State High Risk Pool (previously SB 348 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Greenleaf, Vulakovich, Browne, Erickson, Alloway, and Baker)
 
Risk pools are state-created, nonprofit associations that can help fill gaps in insurance coverage by providing coverage for those who are denied health insurance for medical reasons.  Such a pool would also ensure the ability of all insurers to appropriately match premiums to the cost of the underlying risk in all products sold in the Pennsylvania marketplace.  Many other states have some version of a high risk pool.
 

Document #8

Introduced as SB908

Description: Phase Out MCARE (previously SB 349 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, White, Alloway, and Baker)
 
Until meaningful tort reform is enacted, “Healthy Pennsylvania” proposes to phase out the MCARE Fund and return liability coverage to the private market by using current revenues from the cigarette tax and the Catastrophic or “CAT” Fund for automobile insurance.  This bill would both pay down and ease the costs of transition from MCARE to the private insurance market.
 

Document #9

Introduced as SB909

Description: Exempt Pennsylvania from the Federal Healthcare Mandates (previously SB 350 of 2013 and cosponsored by Senators Mensch, Vulakovich, Hutchinson, Erickson, Rafferty, Robbins, White, Waugh, Scarnati, Alloway, Baker, and McIlhinney)
 
A number of states have proposed – either by statutes or constitutional amendments – to reject the federal health care mandates.
 
Modeled after Virginia law, this element of “Healthy Pennsylvania” would stop the federal government from forcing citizens to purchase government-approved health insurance by preventing Pennsylvania residents from being charged a penalty, assessment, fee, or fine as a result of their failure to obtain health insurance coverage.