The following is a statement from Danae Powers, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, originally released on 12/19/18.
“The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) applauds the U.S. District court’s ruling this week that blocks the Commonwealth from taking more than $200 million from the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association (JUA).
This landmark decision keeps alive a stabilizing force in Pennsylvania’s medical liability insurance market – protecting physicians in high-risk specialties and the patients they serve.
Between 2016-18, the state made three attempts to balance its budget by taking money from the JUA. Luckily, the transfer never took place.
The JUA and PAMED strongly advocated against this on behalf of Pennsylvania physicians.
In July 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued an order granting the JUA’s request for a preliminary injunction. The JUA subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment seeking permanent injunctive relief.
PAMED filed an amicus brief in support of the JUA, arguing that the move was unconstitutional. In this week’s ruling, the court says Act 41 of 2018 violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The JUA was created by state law. However, it receives no money from the Commonwealth and never has.
Monies paid to the JUA by physicians and other health care providers should be used for the intended purpose of insuring against medical professional liability claims. Any attempt to seize money from this private, non-profit organization would have been inappropriate and left Pennsylvania patients and physicians at a disadvantage when the fund was needed.”