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BLUE CROSS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA PROVIDES INITIAL REACTION TO THE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE REFORM PROPOSAL

 PITTSBURGH, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania (BCWP) today commended President Clinton for his administration's efforts to establish a framework to reform the nation's health care system and announced its support for the plan's health insurance reform provision.
 BCWP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eugene J. Barone, said many of the goals contained in the proposal are consistent with BCWP's mission. Barone said the objectives of this proposal -- ensuring affordable health insurance coverage to every American and creating mechanisms to control costs -- are shared by BCWP.
 "We look forward to being an active participant in the national debate to develop a health care policy that meets those objectives," Barone said. "I want to emphasize that Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania is prepared and well-positioned to meet the changes that will be taking place in health care."
 Barone also commended the president specifically for his efforts to reform the health insurance industry.
 "Insurance reform will raise the playing field for all insurers to the level that Blue Cross has been on for more than 50 years," Barone said. "We already meet and, in many cases, exceed the standards outlined in this proposal, making Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania a model for other insurance carriers to emulate."
 The president's health insurance reform package includes a number of elements that have been followed by BCWP since it was founded in 1937. The requirements established by the Clinton proposal practiced by BCWP include:
 -- Guaranteeing access to insurance coverage for all individuals, regardless of age, sex, employment or medical condition;
 -- Sharing and managing risk among large pools of individuals and groups through "community rating";
 -- Continuing payment of benefits regardless of the amount of medical services used; and
 -- Guaranteeing renewal for all policyholders.
 Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania provides health insurance programs to approximately 2.8 million people, and serves 29 counties in western Pennsylvania.
 The policies and practices employed by Pennsylvania's Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have enabled the commonwealth to achieve one of the lowest levels of uninsured individuals in the nation.
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: John McDermott, 412-255-8247, or Diane Wuycheck, 412-255-7697, of Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania/


CO: Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA INS SU:

CD-IC -- PG016 -- 4975 09/22/93 22:15 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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