Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has signed a bill to continue state subsidies for a fifth straight year to help tens of thousands of physicians and other health care specialists pay their medical malpractice insurance bills.
In a statement on his signing of the insurance subsidy, Rendell said he is committed to seeing the number of physicians practicing in Pennsylvania increase from its recently constant number of 35,000.
The subsidy is largely funded by cigarette tax revenue. It benefits doctors who pay into a state-run program, called MCare, that provides catastrophic medical malpractice insurance for claims that rise above $500,000.
For 2007, part-time emergency physicians will join certain other specialists, including full-time emergency physicians and orthopedic surgeons, whose entire MCare assessment is paid by the subsidy. Others get a 50 percent benefit.
The state has spent more than $830 million on the insurance subsidy in the last four years, according to Rendell.
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