Making Healthcare Accessible
All Pennsylvanians deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare whether they live in a big city or in a rural community. We can lower healthcare costs by strengthening insurance networks, eliminating surprise balance billing practices, and getting a handle on rising pharmaceutical costs.
MAKE IT EASIER FOR OUR SENIORS TO ACCESS HOME HEALTHCARE
Currently, when someone applies for Medicaid, they can be “deemed eligible” for nursing home services and receive those services while their Medicaid application is being fully reviewed. However, if the applicant wishes to receive in-home care, they must wait until the application is fully approved, which could take up to nine months. This prolonged application process often forces an applicant into nursing home care when the home setting would have been more appropriate and less expensive. Sharif has introduced legislation that would give our loved ones greater opportunities to receive healthcare in their own homes rather than being forced into nursing home care.
REDUCE PREMIUMS IN THE HEALTHCARE MARKETPLACE
The Affordable Care Act provided many unisured Pennsylvanians an opportunity to purchase affordable health insurance as part of the Healthcare Marketplace. Over the past few years, premiums have continued to rise, making options in the market place harder for many to access. Sharif supports creating a “Public Option” to compete with private insurers in the marketplace and the creation of a reinsurance program in Pennsylvania that would help insurers lower their premiums.
LOWER PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES
Access to healthcare is a human right, and that includes access to safe and affordable prescription drugs. It is not right that Americans must pay more for prescription drugs than anywhere else in the world. And as prices continue to soar, Sharif supports steps to increase transparency in prescription drug pricing so Pennsylvanians can be sure they are not being stuck up by companies that have put greed before healing. Sharif supports legislation to require pharmaceutical companies to open their books and be more transparent with their costs and pricing .
IMPROVE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE IN RURAL PENNSYLVANIA
Despite Pennsylvania being a leader in world class hospitals and healthcare facilities, many people who live in rural Pennsylvania still have poor access to healthcare, often because of a lack of local doctors and hospitals that may be hours away. Sharif will continue to fight for additional Medicaid funding for hospitals, pass a telemedicine bill that will allow patients to meet with doctors remotely, and build on the Affordable Care Act which has provided health insurance to thousands of rural Pennsylvanians.
INCREASE FUNDING FOR HOSPITALS WHO SERVE LOW INCOME PATIENTS
Many hospitals in both urban and rural Pennsylvania rely heavily on Medicaid reimbursements to operate. If our government does not reimburse them at a high enough rate, they do not have enough income from other sources to make up the difference to keep operating and may be forced to cut services or shut down. Sharif believes we have an obligation to keep these hospitals stable to make sure that Pennsylvanians are able to access healthcare services wherever they live.
ELIMINATE PREDATORY SHORT-TERM HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS
Short-Term Limited Coverage Healthcare plans were meant to provide coverage during a transition period between jobs. These policies generally have fewer benefits than plans sold on the ACA marketplace. Because they are so limited in benefits, and because insurers are able to deny coverage to sicker individuals, short-term health plans come with much lower premiums than those with more expansive benefits and vastly superior consumer protections. As a result, some insurance companies have been selling these short term policies for longer durations and allowing customers to renew the plans several times, effectively marketing them as suitable healthcare plans. Sharif believes this is a deceptive practice and that short-term coverage policies need serious reforms.