Re: "Malpractice subsidy: Health care on hold," April 5:

While doctors are often willing to help the uninsured, our organization believes that when individuals have health insurance they are more likely to access care without concern.

Too often the uninsured go without preventive care due to costs. And, sometimes they'll put off more serious concerns, also due to costs. So, it's very important to find ways to make health insurance both affordable and available to all who want it.

Pennsylvania physicians also know that medical liability insurance rates in our state are among the highest in the country. This particularly is an important point to remember because data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health indicate that our state lost more than 1,600 physicians engaged in direct patient care during the last two licensing renewal cycles.

In recent months, regrettably, both doctors and patients have been put in the middle of a political debate. And, because of political maneuvering, health insurance and medical-liability insurance are linked together through a proposal to help doctors defray liability insurance costs and also extend affordable health-care coverage to the state's uninsured adults.

So, as we lose doctors engaged in patient care, and because Pennsylvania has too many uninsured, now is an ideal time for legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle and the Rendell administration to continue to work together to craft legislation in which our state can reduce both the number of uninsured and the cost of medical-liability insurance.

We are hopeful that this will be a priority issue in order to build a win-win situation for both patients and their doctors. And, as we've said in the past, the Pennsylvania Medical Society is prepared to work with all parties toward a comprehensive solution.

Peter S. Lund, M.D.


Enrique Hernandez, M.D.

Board of Trustees

Pennsylvania Medical Society