OK, let me get this straight: We’ve been critically following the passage of the autism mandate in Pennsylvania for almost a year now. It stalled in the state Senate despite advocates’ citing a study from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) that showed relatively low costs of the mandate. However, this report was kept secret! Due to pressure from the Commonwealth Foundation, PHC4 finally releases the report. Both chambers of the state’s General Assembly pass the bill, which the governor supports.
And on the same day, the governor shuts down PHC4 because of a fight with senate Republicans! 38 of 43 employees were locked out because PHC4 “has no statutory basis to perform work“, i.e., had sunsetted.
Apparently, the squabble has to do with reforming medical malpractice in the Keystone State. But PHC4’s role was to study the costs and benefits of different treatments. Over the years, bodies like this were instituted by legislators to reduce the risk of “mandatitis”, that is, legislatures passing runaway mandates on health insurance without taking their costs as well as their benefits into account.
Well, that never really worked: states with these bodies kept on imposing more mandates than ever, despite the “reviews” (as I discussed in a recent briefing paper). Whether Pennsylvanians will have more or less luck keeping the state government out of the doctor’s office, now that PHC4 is in limbo, I leave for others to decide.
But, really, doesn’t this childishness show that we cannot afford to have politicians own and operate our health care?