Gov. Wolf’s 2020-21 Budget Proposal Includes Increase to Primary Care Loan Forgiveness Program

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2020

government-spending-money-articleOn Feb. 4, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his 2020-21 budget address at the Capitol in Harrisburg. Although much of the governor’s speech focused on investment in education, he also addressed health care issues such as the need for funding to continue fighting the opioid crisis.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) has learned that the governor is NOT proposing a tax on ambulatory surgery centers this year. The previous two budget proposals have included an ASC tax which was ultimately not included in the final budget; A coalition of state medical societies, including PAMED, were successful in opposing the ASC tax in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Noteworthy health care-related items in the governor’s budget proposal include funding for:

  • Primary Health Care Loan Forgiveness – The budget proposal includes $5 million toward loan forgiveness, an increase of $450,000 compared to last year. The increase is intended to ensure health care access in underserved communities by attracting more health care professionals to work in the commonwealth.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – The proposal seeks to allocate almost $108 million to CHIP, more than double the amount compared to the previous budget.
  • Pa.’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) – The governor’s proposal includes $2,729,000 to continue funding the state’s PDMP.
  • Community HealthChoices (CHC) – During the past three years, the state’s long-term managed care program for Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles has been rolling out in phases across Pennsylvania. The program is now active throughout the commonwealth. The budget proposal includes $88 million for the CHC program.

The final budget will need to be approved by both the House and Senate. As we do each year, PAMED will closely monitor budget negotiations, and we will share any updates on issues that may impact physicians and patients.

For more details on the budget proposal, check out this Budget-in-Brief summary released by the governor’s office. Additional information on the proposed budget can be found on the Pa. Office of the Budget website here.

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