Last Updated: Jul 3, 2018
The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) has created this detailed timeline of events connected to the state’s attempt to transfer $200 million from the JUA – from July 13, 2016 through July 18, 2018.
July 13, 2016: The legislature passed House Bill (HB) 1605 (Act 85). Section 1726-C(6) of the law directed the transfer of $265.5 million from several segregated funds into the State’s general fund. Approximately 75 percent ($200,000,000) of the transfers directed by statute would originate from the “unappropriated surplus of the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association.”
July 20, 2016: PAMED General Counsel provided an update on HB 1605 (Act 85) to PAMED Executive Committee.
Aug. 16, 2016: PAMED General Counsel updated PAMED Board of Trustees re: HB 1605 (Act 85), detailing legislative and legal advocacy options.
May 19, 2017: The JUA filed a complaint against the state. The complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, alleged several state and federal constitutional violations and sought declaratory relief to enjoin the enforcement of House Bill (HB) 1605 (Act 85), Section 1726-C(6).
June 21, 2017: PAMED General Counsel requested, and Executive Committee approved, the filing of an amicus brief in support of the JUA’s complaint against the state.
July 10, 2017: The House Appropriations Committee passed Senate Bill (SB) 446. Section 5 of the bill contained language demonstrating the legislature’s continued efforts to transfer the JUA’s unappropriated funds to the state general fund. In summary, the bill’s language made several questionable assertions: (1) there is a decline in the need for the medical malpractice insurance provided by the JUA; (2) the funds under the JUA’s control do not belong to the JUA or any of the insured providers covered by the its policies; (3) the JUA is an instrumentality of the state; and, (4) the funds under the JUA’s control belong to the state.
July 13, 2017: The JUA sent a letter to Governor Wolf, the State’s General Counsel, the Attorney General, and the General Assembly’s leadership. The letter challenged several of the bill’s assertions and gives notice to the state of the JUA’s intent to file suit, again, in federal court, if SB 446 became law.
July 21, 2017: PAMED sends a letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly Leadership to express concerns with state’s repeated attempts to take $200 million from JUA. View Letter
July 26, 2017: The Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee amended House Bill (HB) 118. Section 5 of the bill contained the same language from SB 446; however, HB 118 included a new Sunset Provision, which proposed to abolish the JUA, if the JUA did not make payment to the state Treasury Department by November 1, 2017. The proposed bill would have:
- Required the JUA to pay 200 million to the state treasury by November 1, 2017.
- Abolished the JUA by expiring the provisions in the MCARE Act which established the JUA, if payment is not made by November 1.
- Transferred the JUA’s funds to the Department of Insurance (the Department). The Department would have been responsible for administering the funds as previously directed by the MCARE Act.
- Required the Department to transfer the 200 million to the state treasury for deposit into the General Fund as soon as practicable.
- Required the Department to transfer any excess funds to the General Fund.
July 31, 2017: The JUA issued a press release regarding the legislature’s recent actions and the organization’s response. The press release is picked up by the Associated Press and reported nationally via various news outlets.
Aug. 1, 2017: Pennsylvania’s Capitol Wire released a very comprehensive article, articulating arguments from both sides. PAMED released a communication, via a PAMED Dose email, highlighting the JUA’s press release and PAMED’s support for the organization’s action. View Email
Aug. 22, 2017: The Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of Secretary Albright, filed a Motion to Dismiss the JUA’s Complaint.
Sept. 5, 2017: The Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of Secretary Albright, filed a Brief in Support of its Motion to Dismiss. In support of its Motion, the state argued that the JUA lacked standing, and that the JUA’s claims regarding the violation of its constitutional rights (i.e., Due Process, Property, and Contract) were lacking.
Sept. 19, 2017: The JUA submitted its Brief in Opposition to the State’s Motion to Dismiss. In its brief, the JUA argued that it had sufficiently pleaded facts to support its standing and the violation of its constitutional rights.
Sept. 26, 2017: PAMED filed its 1st Motion to Leave to Participate and File an Amicus Brief in support of the JUA’s request for a declaratory judgment prohibiting the transfer of funds from the JUA to the state’s general fund. By providing a historical and present day look at Pennsylvania’s medical malpractice environment, the brief argued in support of the important role the JUA plays for Pennsylvania physicians as a stabilizing force in Pennsylvania’s medical malpractice insurance market. View PAMED’s Amicus Brief
Oct. 2017: PAMED Legislative & Regulatory Counsel provides update to general membership, via monthly blog, Bills on the Hill¸ re: JUA funding.
Oct. 4, 2017: The State filed a Reply Brief in Support of its Motion to Dismiss. The state’s Brief was in response to the JUA’s opposition brief and reiterated the same arguments made in its Motion to Dismiss. Judge Connor granted PAMED permission to file the Amicus Brief in Support of the JUA’s complaint.
Oct. 13, 2017: PAMED General Counsel and legislative team provided an update to PAMED Board of Trustees.
Oct. 24, 2017: PAMED provided update to general membership via PAMED Dose. View Email
Oct. 30, 2017: Two bills signed into law on Oct. 30, 2017—House Bill (HB) 118 (Act 40 of 2017) and HB 674 (Act 44 of 2017)—would require the JUA to pay $200 million to the state or face abolishment. Because HB 674 (Act 44 of 2017) was signed last, the provisions regarding the JUA in this law would have prevailed. Consequently, PAMED was informed of JUA’s intent to file a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to enjoin the enforcement of Act 44.
Nov. 6, 2017: PAMED General Counsel provided an update to PAMED Board of Trustees re: Act 44 and obtained permission to file a 2nd amicus brief.
Nov. 8, 2017: JUA filed preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to block Act 44 of 2017.
Nov. 22, 2017: The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued an order granting the JUA’s request for a preliminary injunction. The order—issued by Chief Judge Christopher Conner—temporarily blocks the state from taking $200 million from the JUA to balance the state’s budget.
Dec. 2017: PAMED Legislative & Regulatory Counsel provided an update to general membership, via monthly blog, Bills on the Hill¸ re: JUA funding.
Feb. 6, 2018: PAMED General Counsel provided an update to PAMED Board of Trustees on the status of the JUA action.
Feb. 9, 2018: PAMED filed a 2nd amicus brief in support of JUA’s preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to block Act 44 of 2017. View Amicus Brief
May 17, 2018: PAMED’s General Counsel learned that the JUA won its case against the General Assembly and Governor Wolf. General Counsel immediately communicated same to Board of Trustees via Board email distribution list.
May 18, 2018: PAMED provides update to membership re: JUA win via PAMED Dose. View Email
June 11, 2018: Governor Wolf appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. General Counsel communicated the same to the PAMED Board via the Board email distribution list. The General Assembly also appeals the decision to the same appellate court later that week.
June 21, 2018: Senate appropriations committee adds amendment to HB 1851. PAMED’s lobbyist provides update to PAMED Legal and Government Affairs teams immediately afterward. The full Senate approves the committee’s amendment before close of business on the same day.
June 22, 2018: The House concurs in Senate amendments. In the evening, Governor Wolf signs HB 1851 (Act 41 of 2018) into law.
June 25, 2018: General Counsel provided an update on the status of HB 1851 to Board of Trustees via email. (PLEASE NOTE: As of the morning of June 25, the public had not been made aware that Gov. Wolf had signed HB 1851 into law (Act 41 of 2018). On the morning of June 25, reports from the Capitol Wire still indicated that the bill was on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature.)
June 27, 2018: General Counsel works with PAMED Communications department to send update re: Act 41 to general membership via PAMED Dose.
June 28, 2018: Update re: Act 41 emailed to general membership via PAMED Dose.
June 29, 2018: The JUA files lawsuit against the legislature and Gov. Wolf seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The JUA contacts PAMED General Counsel seeking continued support via amicus brief. General Counsel provides update to PAMED Board Chair, Executive Director, and Deputy Director, and requests permission to provide continued support to JUA through the filing of 3rd Amicus Brief. Board Chair approves continued support.
July 18, 2018: The JUA’s request for a preliminary injunction is granted. The order—issued by Chief Judge Christopher Conner—temporarily blocks the state from taking over the JUA.
September 2018: PAMED and the American Medical Association filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of the JUA’s motion for summary judgment.
December 2018: U.S. District court’s ruling this week that blocks the Commonwealth from taking more than $200 million from the JUA. Read PAMED's statement.
June 4, 2019: SB 720, a bill that would provide more legislative oversight of the JUA, is introduced. Read more about SB 720.