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Governor Rendell Says Funds Are Within Reach to Cover the Uninsured, Continue Mcare Abatement Program
Date:12/4/2007

g homes financial relief from the Mcare assessment for a specific policy year when the program is in effect. (Act 44 of 2003 initially "abated" doctors and midwives. Podiatrists were added in 2004 and nursing homes in 2006). The 2003 law provided the abatement for 2003 and 2004. Each year since then, the abatement has been extended by the General Assembly for a one-year time period.

Because of the improvement in the medical malpractice climate in Pennsylvania, Mcare claims filings and annual payouts have both decreased dramatically over the past five years, thereby creating reserves in the Health Care Provider Retention Account which are not needed to support the Mcare Fund. The Health Care Provider Retention Account currently has a $400 million balance.

Since the enactment of Act 44 in 2003, the General Assembly has appropriated all of the eligible funds from the cigarette tax to the Health Care Provider Retention Account.

Under Act 44 of 2003, the Budget secretary is directed to transfer funds from the Health Care Provider Retention Account to the Mcare Fund to make up for any deficit in the fund resulting from the Mcare abatement being given to eligible providers. Current law gives the state the authority to use any remaining balance in the Health Care Provider Retention Account for any purpose consistent with the general health and welfare of the people of Pennsylvania.

"Given the dramatic improvement in the medical malpractice insurance market since 2002, it seems reasonable that we should use unspent funds not needed for the abatement program to confront Pennsylvania's most pressing current health care crisis - the crisis of the uninsured," Governor Rendell said. "Using the resources in the Health Care Provider Retention Account in this way helps meet both my goals - expanded health care coverage for the uninsured and continuation of the Mcare abatement."

The Governor said that in addition to using available balance
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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