Vaccine bid called “this generation’s moonshot.”
by PublicSource Reporters
Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a health reform plan that focuses on both physical and behavioral health and priorities, made especially urgent, he said at a Friday press conference, by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on many of the challenges, as you know, we have in the Commonwealth especially when it comes to health care,” the governor said. “But I think we’re all much more aware now than we ever were before as to how precarious our healthcare system is and how heavily dependent we are on that health care system for the things that we need.”
The reform package starts with creating an Interagency Health Reform Council, established with an executive order Wolf signed at the press conference.
The council, comprising commonwealth agencies involved in health and the governor’s office, will develop recommendations by December 30 to identify and capitalize on efficiencies in the healthcare system, allowing agencies to work together to find savings and to promote whole-person care.
The plan also involves the creation of five Regional Accountable Health Councils across the state. The forums will focus on addressing racial and social disparities in healthcare.
The governor said he will also collaborate with the legislature to establish the Health Value Commission, charged with keeping payers and providers accountable for growth in health care costs and establishing long term affordability and sustainability for the health care system.
The proposal comes amid court challenges to the federal Affordable Care Act, expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court next month.
Wolf said he has “advocated forcefully against any rollback of the Affordable Care Act, which provides health coverage.”
“We need to stem the rising tide of health care costs, so that Pennsylvanians are not priced out of good health care,” Wolf continued. “That’s why I’m proposing a health reform package that will make healthcare more affordable, second, will hold healthcare corporations accountable, and will tackle, third, health inequities resulting from a systemic racism that pervades our system.”
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania case counts
The Allegheny County Health Department [ACHD] reported 73 new COVID-19 infections Thursday and four COVID-related fatalities. The newly reported cases bring the total count since March 14 to 12,527 infections.
The case tally released Thursday came from 1,298 tests conducted from Sept. 25 through Oct. 1. The new infections were among patients ages 11 days to 93 years, with the median age being 35 years. More than half of the cases were in people younger than 50.
To date, the county has had 386 deaths and 1,218 people hospitalized because of the virus.
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