Lack of PA reform bill leads to higher med mal costs

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) is taking a unique tack on healthcare reform--one which, in essence, holds doctors hostage. He's telling the state's physicians that until there's an agreement on legislation to provide healthcare to the uninsured, they'll have to pay more for their medical malpractice insurance. Rendell says he won't approve another round of the state's MCare malpractice insurance abatement program until there's legislation in place helping to provide affordable health insurance. For doctors in high-risk specialties like neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and obstetrics, this means an additional $15,000 payment for medical malpractice insurance, while doctors in lower-risk specialties would pay an average of about $1,500 more.

Gov. Rendell is pushing to see state legislators take action on a bill, approved by the state House last week, which would provide subsidized coverage to adults earning up to 200 percent of the poverty level, as well as giving grants to small employers who already offer health insurance to low income workers.

To learn more about the legislative dispute:
- read this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece

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