Sometimes it feels as if we are spinning our wheels with all the disagreement about solutions to our broken healthcare system. Recently I attended a conference in Harrisburg that gave me hope for the future in our home state. It was the annual conference of the Pa Health Access Network (PHAN), Pennsylvania’s only statewide, consumer-driven organization working to expand and protect access to high-quality, equitable, and affordable healthcare for all Pennsylvanians.
Titled “A New Path Forward: Moving Toward Fairer, More Equitable Healthcare in Pennsylvania,” the conference featured state leaders in the healthcare reform effort. In addition to policy people from PHAN, among the presenters were legislators Bryan Cutler and Dan Frankel; Pa Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman; Zachary Sherman, the newly appointed Executive Director for Pennsylvania’s own new ACA (Affordable Care Act) marketplace exchange; and the heads of Community Legal Services and Community Health Centers. The work these people are doing and their vision for shoring up healthcare in our state are inspiring. I am excited to share some of their plans and ideas with readers of this paper, focusing on the state exchange that is under development.