Providing Access to Healthcare

All Pennsylvanians deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare whether they live in a big city or in a rural community. Sharif will find creative ways to 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

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. Currently, when someone applies for Medicaid, they can be “deemed eligible” for nursing home services and receive those services while the 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. Often this prolonged application process forces an applicant into nursing home care when the home setting would have been more appropriate and less expensive.

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. However, over the past few years, premiums have risen making options in the market place unattainble for many. Sharif Street supoprts creating a "Public Option" to compete with private insurers in the marketplace. He also supports the creation of a reinurance 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 will require pharmaceutical companies to open thier books and be more transparent with their costs and their pricing so Pennsyvanians can be sure they are not being stuck up by companies that have put greed before healing.

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 PA have poor access the healthcare because of a lack of local doctors and hospitals that may be hours away. Sharif will fight for additional medicaid funding for hospitals, pass a telemedicine bill that will allow patients to meet with doctors remotely, and fight to protect the Afordable Care Act which has provided health insurance to thousands of rural Pennsylvanians.

Increase funding for hospitals who serve low income patients

Many hospitals in our urban and rural areas rely heavily on Medicaid reimbursements to operate. If our government does not reimburse them at high enough rate, they do not have enough income from other sources to make up the difference to keep operating, and my be forced to cut services or shut down. Sharif believes we have an obligation to keep these hospitals stable to make sure that those with who have the least are able to get healthcare services whereever they live, be it in urban cities or rural Pennsylvania.

Eliminate predatory short-term health insurance plans

Short Term Limited Coverage Healthcare plans were meant to provide coverage during a transitional period between jobs. The benefits of these policies tend to be much skimpier than those 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 beleives this is a deceptive practice and has a bill to reform short term health policies.

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