Thursday, June 28, 2007

Shapiro Legislation on Doctors Passes the PA House

Josh Shapiro (D-153) has another feather in his cap. His bill on loan forgiveness for medical students who stay in the state has passed the state house 191-9:

Shapiro’s proposal (H.B. 1093) would create a medical school loan forgiveness program for primary care doctors and ob/gyns who agree to practice in Pennsylvania for 10 years. Qualified participants would receive reimbursement for 100 percent of the total medical school loan over a 10-year period. If a participant fails to practice in Pennsylvania for the full 10 years, he or she would be required to pay back the payments from the state.

Quotes later in the press release show support from medical associations:

All across the state, members of Pennsylvania’s medical and health-care community support Shapiro's bill as a way to keep doctors in Pennsylvania and improve access to health care for Pennsylvanians.

Dr. Charles Cutler, governor of the Southeastern Region, Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Physicians said, “We commend and support Representative Shapiro’s efforts to address the crushing burden of medical school debt for young doctors and working to keep our physicians in Pennsylvania.”

James Redmond, senior vice president of legislative services for the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania explained, “Studies demonstrate that Pennsylvania needs to take steps to ensure an adequate supply of physicians as workforce levels are not sufficient to meet the increase in demand for services that will result from an aging population and a growing chronically ill population. The expansion of loan forgiveness programs is one important way we can make Pennsylvania more physician-friendly.”

The Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association is also in favor of the bill. Their letter to Shapiro read in part:

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, I want to applaud you for your recent legislation designed to attract the best and brightest medical students to our state and retain that talent in our state through a loan forgiveness program. We need creative legislation like this to address challenges the Commonwealth faces.

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