192529 Evaluating the Progress Made Towards Universal Health Care for Philadelphians Six Years after a Successful Ballot Referendum

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jenny R. Pahys , Public Health, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia is experiencing a health care crisis, specifically among poor and minority populations. After a successful grass-roots campaign, all wards in Philadelphia overwhelmingly approved a ballot referendum supporting universal health care for all Philadelphians in 2003. In response to this political mandate, the authorities instructed the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to act. The Department commissioned a report released in May 2005 titled Decent Health Care for All. Determining that an insurance strategy to provide health care for all Philadelphians was not feasible, this report called for the formation of an influential advisory board to best organize existing resources to efficiently deliver health services to underserved populations, produce strategies for better financing of care to vulnerable populations and to facilitate efforts to integrate ‘safety net' programs for the uninsured. The mandate as such was thereby derailed.

This project assesses the progress made by the city towards acting on the primary suggestions outlined in Decent Health Care for All. This assessment discerns whether an effective advisory board and a health care agenda have been assembled and whether progress has been made towards the board's primary objectives. Second, changes in health status of Philadelphians and available health care resources over the ensuing six year period are analyzed against the values underlying the original mandate. Finally, reflections on the progress to date are presented, including an analysis of the obstacles and enablers for change.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the progress made by the city of Philadelphia directly ensuing the successful universal health care ballot referendum in 2003, including assessing whether revisions to the current safety net system suggested in "Decent Healthcare for All" have been made, comparing the changing health care needs verses available resources in the city over time and evaluating the feasibility of implementing a local health care initiative from another city in Philadelphia.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I authored a capstone project on the presented material in the MPH program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.