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Governor Rendell Directs Insurance Commissioner to Delay Mcare Abatement Collection
Date:12/24/2007

e this proposal at a time when spiking premiums were threatening physicians financially and threatening access to care for the people of Pennsylvania.

I had to fight very hard for approval from the legislature for your abatements and the tax increase necessary to fund them, but I persisted because I knew it was important for you and your patients. Since then, the abatement program has received nearly unanimous bipartisan support as the legislature has realized the value of this program.

Since 2003, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has annually approved one-year extensions of the Mcare abatement program. Health care providers have received nearly $1 billion in Mcare payment relief as a result of the abatement. Funding to keep the Mcare program in balance despite the abatement comes from a special state account, funded with 25 cents a pack from the state cigarette tax.

While there is still more progress to be made to drive down med mal costs, the creation of the Mcare abatement and other actions taken by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have significantly improved the medical malpractice climate in our state. The number of malpractice filings statewide is dropping. More insurers are now writing med mal policies in Pennsylvania. And best of all, in 2007, claims payouts from the Mcare Fund were half what they were in 2003.

Because of the positive impact of the Mcare abatement, I recently urged the legislature to consider enacting a 10-year extension of the Mcare abatement so that we could avoid the annual political exercise of legislating the extension. I asked for the Mcare abatement extension in tandem with my proposal to provide health care coverage for those Pennsylvanians currently without insurance -- a program which I call Cover All Pennsylvanians (CAP).

CAP is designed to provide affordable health insurance to the uninsured and to employees of low-wage small businesses. Part of the funding for CAP is proposed to come
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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