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What States Really Need: Chuck Pennacchio Replies to David Sirota

Chuck Pennacchio has the following response to this column by David Sirota:

Interesting piece, David. Thank you.

It's conceptually compelling. But, in detail, the US Senate healthcare bill to which you refer would undermine state innovation, especially state-based single payer legislative campaigns that are making tremendous headway all across the nation.

The US Senate's poison-pill language preempting state initiatives/reforms until 2017 would lock in industry control over HC funding (and, thus, delivery); provide a mandate-driven, ready-made market of some 30M new "consumers" to a predatory, profit-first insurance industry; and, perhaps worst of all, tie the hands of some 20 state-based single payer legislative campaigns working closer and closer to enact the proven Single Payer Solution as both a model for other states and the national government.

Here in PA, if you recall, we are alone among states in the following three (3) ways: we've got Governor Rendell's promised signature once our SP bill (SB 400/HB 1660) passes; funding is authorized in the bill itself (meaning no need for a wildly expensive tax referendum), and Rs and Ds are working together on hearings, studies, and more, particularly in our GOP-controlled State Senate. Just this week, in fact, we completed the process of promoting for endorsement the bi-partisan Economic Impact Study resolution. In our 30-20 Republican-dominated State Senate, we got 11 Rs and 19 Ds to co-sponsor the EIS before its formal introduction occurs this coming week.

Having said that, there are numerous states beyond PA that are moving rapidly to adopt single payer reform in the next 2-3 years. Representatives from at least seven (7) states are gathering shortly in PA to discuss strategies, tactics, and resources-sharing. We're building a powerful state-based single payer movement that speaks to the inherent constitutional, historical and financial realities that cripple Washington, DC, on the one hand, and underscore the necessity of state-based healthcare innovation, on the other.

Thanks again for writing about new possibilities -- promising possibilities -- on the healthcare reform front.
Respectfully yours,

Chuck Pennacchio


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