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HAP and Stakeholders Advocate to Preserve Critical Health Care Funding

May 15, 2019

HAP and other stakeholders have submitted a joint letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly requesting that funding to critical public health initiatives, investments in health research, and safety nets for high need patients continue under the 2019–2020 state budget.

Specifically, hospitals receive payments to help offset the cost of care delivered for which they receive no payment, otherwise known as uncompensated care. These payments are to support care provided to patients financially unable to pay for services. In 2017, uncompensated care cost to the hospital community was valued at $761 million.

The 2017–2018 state budget placed this funding at risk by allowing for the monetization of future funds received through the 1998 Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement (MSA), which funds a portion of uncompensated care costs. Debt payments on the bonds secured during this process are now due.

Other entities who receive funding through the Tobacco Settlement Fund include the Life Science Greenhouses, CURE grants for health research, and Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Programs.

In 2001, the General Assembly passed the Tobacco Settlement Act (Act 77 of 2001) creating the health-related programs funded through the 1998 Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement (MSA). The General Assembly and former Governor Tom Ridge determined that given the enormous impact of tobacco and tobacco-related products on public health, it was appropriate to devote these funds to health-related services and programs.

As state budget negotiations continue, HAP believes lawmakers should maintain this sentiment and continue commitments made to programs funded through the Tobacco Settlement Fund.

For additional information please contact Stephanie Watkins, vice president, state legislative advocacy or Warren Kampf, senior vice president, advocacy and external affairs.

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