As the Affordable Care Act unravels before our eyes one thing is becoming abundantly clear to all Americans: A Washington-dictated, one-size-fits-all approach to health care does not work.
Look at the facts.
This year, as many as 250,000 hard-working Pennsylvanians will have their insurance canceled because the Affordable Care Act requires that their policies be discontinued. Next year, the number of canceled health insurance policies will grow exponentially as some group policies for families and small businesses are discontinued.
In addition, millions of Americans -- including thousands of Pennsylvanians -- will face steep price increases for health insurance, along with large, new out-of-pocket costs.
What happened to the president's promise of, "If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan -- period"?
With each passing day, deadlines for the Affordable Care Act are being missed, as Americans try to access a website that doesn't work, despite hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent to build it.
This is unacceptable. The American public deserves better. Pennsylvania deserves better.
In October, I announced "Healthy Pennsylvania", a state-based, common-sense plan to increase access to quality, affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.
It builds on the commonwealth's strong, existing private industry infrastructure and history of local and state health care solutions that work. And it's flexible enough to meet the needs of our large and diverse state.
Because it's not enough to just design a health care system -- it has to be a solution that works right here and right now.
The goals of Healthy Pennsylvania are these:
•Make sure every child in the state has health care coverage; including the recent law I signed re-authorizing CHIP and eliminating a waiting period so that children can be covered immediately.
•Connect every Pennsylvanian with a family doctor or health care provider; including programs to attract and retain more doctors.
•Encourage better communication between doctors and patients. I recently signed into law the apology rule to allow open and frank discussions to help patients and families.
•Use our state's world-class technology and health systems to make certain that, no matter where they live, every Pennsylvanian has access to a specialist when they need one.
•Reform and improve Medicaid by encouraging people to be healthier, and help able-bodied, unemployed Medicaid recipients get job training and connect with jobs.
•Provide access to health care insurance for more than 500,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians through the private insurance market.
•Extend the reach of our long-term care services and supports for our older Pennsylvanians and people living with disabilities.
•Work with our communities to focus on overall public health and wellness and ensure safe and appropriate access to prescription medication.
This is a plan that works for our state, our people and our children. It doesn't mandate what health care people must have -- it builds upon our health care network to support giving people access and choices. Why? Because in Pennsylvania, I believe everyone should be able to choose a health care plan that works best for them.
We need a Pennsylvania solution that can live up to its promises for our citizens. "Healthy Pennsylvania" works.