PA Governor Issues Statement Promising $220 Million Med Mal Premium Abatement Plan

March 3, 2003

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell released a statement on Friday promising short-term economic relief for physicians struggling to pay medical malpractice premiums. The text is as follows:

“Two months ago, I stood shoulder to shoulder with Governor Schweiker to unveil a proposal to provide doctors with short-term economic relief from the medical malpractice insurance crisis that is threatening healthcare in our state. I announced then a one-time emergency assessment on the surpluses being held by companies writing health insurance policies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, many of which benefit from non-profit status.”

“Inheriting a budget deficit of close to $2 billion makes me even more resolved to offset the short-term relief for physician medical malpractice premiums from non-state sources.
“That is why I am guaranteeing that the relief I promised doctors from our state’s M-Care fund will be delivered this year, even if M-Care has to borrow the money to cover the promise. Given the need to link our short-term plan to tap insurers for a portion of the M-Care premiums with our long-term reforms, we have informed insurers that they can delay sending medical malpractice insurance bills to physicians until July 1, 2003.”

“The Office of Health Care Reform and the Insurance and Health Departments have been working feverishly on the issues that drive up our medical malpractice costs. They are consulting with hospitals, physicians, insurers and financial analysts on short- and long-term solutions. The Medical Malpractice Task Force is also hard at work, meeting regularly toward completing its recommendations by the April 1st deadline.”

“I am prepared to fight vigorously to assess the surpluses held by health insurers in our state in any legal venue, to realize my vision for the continuation – and further improvement – of high-quality healthcare. I made a promise to the citizens of Pennsylvania to guard their healthcare – a promise I intend to keep.”

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