Delivering affordable and accessible health care options for Pennsylvania’s families is a House Republicans priority.

Through #HealthierPA, House Republicans are acting to bring affordable and quality health care to all the citizens of Pennsylvania. No matter where you live, every Pennsylvanian should have access to a family doctor or specialist as needed.

Ultimately, #HealthierPA is aimed at ensuring Pennsylvania’s health care system is patient-centered, where doctors and patients are making health care decisions.

The #HealthierPA package focuses on:

1. Affordable health care
  • House Resolution 507 (Hahn): Directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study and issue a report analyzing the PA Health and Human Services hotlines and their cost. PASSED THE HOUSE 198-0.
  • House Bill 3 (Cutler/Dermody): Transitioned the Commonwealth to a health insurance exchange and reinsurance program operated by the state instead of by the federal government. The change was expected to lower health insurance premiums by 5-10% for more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians. SIGNED INTO LAW AS ACT 42 of 2019.
  • House Bill 872 (Day): To authorize the regulation of telemedicine by professional licensing boards and provide for insurance coverage of telemedicine.
2. Making prescriptions more affordable
  • House Bill 943 (Gaydos): Consumer Prescription Drug Pricing and Freedom Disclosure Act. The bill would prohibit gag clauses in the contracts pharmacy benefit managers have with pharmacies. These clauses prohibit pharmacists from telling customers if they would pay less for a medication by bypassing insurance and paying out-of-pocket. Prescription co-pays for many less expensive, generic medicines are costlier when insurance is used to pay for them. PASSED THE HOUSE 197-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 410 (Oberlander): Would allow FDA-approved anti-obesity drugs to be covered under the state Medicaid program. PASSED THE HOUSE 188-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
3. Improving and expanding access to health care and prescriptions, especially in rural areas
  • House Bill 533 (Owlett): Health Care Practitioner Credentialing Act would improve the credentialing process for health care practitioners and address unwarranted delays by health insurers in credentialing applicants to be included in their networks.

    Currently, newly hired health care professionals who are fully licensed and qualified to provide care are not reimbursed for months by insurers while they work their way through an unnecessarily long and cumbersome credentialing process. Hospitals, physician practices and community health centers are losing money, and access to care is being limited because they are sidelined by a credentialing process that can take up to six months. PASSED THE HOUSE 187-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 248 (Pickett): To establish the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority, a public-private partnership, to administer a program to strengthen rural hospitals, keep jobs local and increase access to health care.
  • Senate Bill 314 (Baker): To establish the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority (see House Bill 248, which is the companion bill) and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund. SIGNED INTO LAW AS ACT 108 of 2019.
  • House Bill 872 (Day): Authorize the regulation of telemedicine by professional licensing boards and provide for insurance coverage of telemedicine.
  • House Bill 942 (Grove): To add community pharmacists to the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee that acts in an advisory capacity for the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Office of Medical Assistance programs. The change would ensure appropriate oversight and a balanced perspective. The committee currently includes DHS medical directors, as well as external physicians and pharmacists from managed care organizations. PASSED THE HOUSE 197-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 944 (Fritz): To allow for a full-scale audit of subcontracts with pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) in Medicaid. Currently, the Department of the Auditor General is not even able to review them even though Pennsylvania taxpayers paid nearly $3 billion to PBMs for Medicaid enrollees in 2017, according to the Department of Human Services. PASSED THE HOUSE 197-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 427 (Benninghoff): Fair Access to Cancer Treatment Act. Patients would not have to first fail on one FDA-approved drug consistent with best practices for Stage IV metastatic cancer treatment before another would be covered by their insurance. PASSED THE HOUSE 196-3, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
4. Dealing with doctor and nursing shortages
  • House Bill 533 (Owlett): Health Care Practitioner Credentialing Act would improve the credentialing process for health care practitioners and address unwarranted delays by health insurers in credentialing applicants to be included in their networks.

    Currently, newly hired health care professionals who are fully licensed and qualified to provide care are not reimbursed for months by insurers while they work their way through an unnecessarily long and cumbersome credentialing process. Hospitals, physician practices and community health centers are losing money, and access to care is being limited because they are sidelined by a credentialing process that can take up to six months. PASSED THE HOUSE 187-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 1880 (Gillespie): Responds to serious violence committed against health care employees – who are four times more likely to be targeted than if they worked in the private industry – both on the job and outside the workplace, the bill would remove the requirement for surnames to be displayed on health care employees’ identification badges. PASSED THE HOUSE 188-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 1879 (Gillespie): Would add health care practitioners to a protected class in the event of an assault. It would raise the penalty for assault of a health care practitioner while in the performance of duty where there is bodily injury from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree.
  • House Bill 39 (Snyder): Responds to the workplace violence committed against health care providers by their patients, the bill would omit health care workers’ last names from their facility identification badges.
5. Making behavioral health treatment more accessible
  • House Resolution 268 (Struzzi): It would Direct the Joint State Government Commission to study the impact of behavioral health treatment needs and behavioral health care system capacity on hospital emergency departments and patient health. As the Commonwealth faces a crisis in mental and behavioral health care, the goal is to understand the treatment capacity to address need. PASSED THE HOUSE 192-0.
  • House Bill 1704 (Bernstine): It would increase access for individuals in needs of behavioral health services. Currently, they generally meet medical assistance eligibility requirements but aren’t often enrolled in the medical assistance program because they don’t know how to enroll, are chronically mentally ill, etc. As a result, they become involved with the criminal justice system or access expensive services in emergency rooms or crisis centers for short-term crisis needs. Under the bill, patients in crisis would be deemed eligible for behavioral health services, automatically enrolled in a local behavioral health managed care organization, and receive services immediately while their medical assistance application is being reviewed.
6. Educating parents for healthy babies
  • House Bill 730 (Cruz): It would amend the Newborn Child Testing Act to expand the list of mandatory screenings, establish follow-up services and a testing fee.
  • House Bill 1220 (Cruz): It would establish the freestanding Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Education and Newborn Screening Act. CMV is a virus transmitted from infected, pregnant mothers to their babies; it happens with one in 150 babies. CMV can cause hearing loss, vision loss, developmental disabilities and even death. The bill would require testing for CMV if a baby fails the required newborn hearing screening or if CMV testing is request by a parent. It would also require educational materials to be shared with parents. PASSED THE HOUSE 197-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
7. Controlling Medicaid costs while delivering needed care
  • House Bill 941 (Heffley): To increase transparency in pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) pricing practices for the Medicaid program. PBMs decide which drugs will be covered and how much to reimburse the pharmacies that fill the prescriptions. The severe cuts that have been instituted are making it extremely difficult for Pennsylvania’s 900 independent pharmacies to maintain inventory, stay in business and serve the most vulnerable citizens. PASSED THE HOUSE 197-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 410 (Oberlander): The bill would allow FDA-approved anti-obesity drugs to be covered under the state Medicaid program. PASSED THE HOUSE 188-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
8. Combating the opioid and addiction epidemic
  • House Bill 1024 (Rader): Would specify that a person does not need to test positive for drugs to begin addiction treatment. PASSED THE HOUSE 188-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 1662 (DiGirolamo): To include suboxone/buprenorphine-related deaths to be included in the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act so any deeper issues can be addressed, such as a pill-pushing doctor or treatment facility. PASSED THE HOUSE 199-0, MOVED TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.
  • House Bill 616 (Owlett): To add carfentanil, one of the most potent opioids, to the list of Schedule II controlled substances. Adding it to the list would severely restrict its availability and make it illegal to possess or distribute without a license or prescription.
  • Senate Bill 572 (Aument): To require patients being prescribed opioids to have a treatment agreement with a prescriber to ensure patients understand the risk of addiction, dangers of overdose and their responsibility regarding treatment. SIGNED INTO LAW AS ACT 112 of 2019.


#HealthierPA Accomplishments Since 2011

Key Points:
  •   For a #HealthierPA, House Republican members are acting to ensure every Pennsylvania resident, no matter where he or she lives, has access to a family doctor or health care provider.
  •   House Republican members continue to work toward preserving the doctor/patient relationship with minimal government interference.
  •   House Republicans have enacted measures to allow health care providers to improve the health and well-being of patients.
  •   House Republican members have supported and advanced scientific innovations without undermining the ethical principles that have guided physicians and licensed professionals.

Click here to go to the #HealthierPA Accomplishments page.