Mandated Benefits Review - Senate Bill 1198 - Executive Summary

After reviewing the staff analysis of Senate Bill 1198 - the Cancer Clinical Trials Act - the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council does not find evidence to recommend the passage of this legislation at this time. We note that this proposal is only slightly different than Senate Bill 1334 (of 1995), which the Council was asked to review in 1996. At that time, the Council was unable to recommend passage of Senate Bill 1334. Our position on the issue of mandating coverage of patient costs for participants in cancer clinical trials remains unchanged. We make the following points:

The Council suggests that caution must be used when considering health care mandates. In particular, attention must be given to the cumulative financial effect of enacting mandates. The Council notes the correlation between the number of mandates and the increasing cost of health insurance, the increasing number of uninsured, the incentive for large employers to self insure, and the decreasing number of employees covered by employer sponsored health insurance. As a Council, we are charged with the responsibility to "promote the public interest by encouraging the development of competitive health care services in which health care costs are contained and to assure that all citizens have reasonable access to quality health care" (Act 34 of 1993).