NESRI report reveals failures of Pennsylvania’s private, for-profit healthcare insurance system

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), with their partner Put People First! Pennsylvania, published a report concerning Pennsylvania’s healthcare system and how the state’s private, for-profit insurance system is failing to provide healthcare to the people. Beyond Coverage: Putting People First in Pennsylvania’s Healthcare System is a result of a survey of over 300 people in 43 of 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

The report is published as people are mobilizing against the Pennsylvania Insurance Department allows health insurance companies to raise rates by an astounding 32.5% come next year. This being despite the fact that its findings show that healthcare costs and access are already a major concern for people and four out of five people surveyed in the report were already seriously affected by the increase in insurance rates in 2015. 

Of those surveyed, more than two thirds said their healthcare needs were not met by the healthcare system in Pennsylvania and more than a third said they were forced to skip paying for basic needs such as electricity and groceries because of healthcare costs in the last 12 months. Furthermore, a third of people had refrained from dental care because of the cost leading many to develop more serious dental conditions and others to take on debt as a result. 

This failure of the Pennsylvania healthcare system to deliver the healthcare people urgently need is not unique to the state and reflects the potential effects of having a privatized and for-profit insurance system for healthcare. Healthcare is a human right and it is the state’s obligation to provide healthcare for everyone. As Beyond Coverage finds, Pennsylvania’s government is currently failing to fulfill that obligation.