Tax on cigarettes proposed to lower doctors' malpractice costs

The Rendell administration is proposing to reduce doctors’ malpractice premiums by increasing taxes on cigarettes. The cigarette tax is in addition to receiving $100 million in matching funds from Medicaid. Additional funding to relieve doctors of premium costs already comes from speeding ticket fines.

Rendell would be able to cut premiums doctors pay to the state-run MCARE Fund with the additional taxes. Cigarettes could be taxed as much as 30 cents if the plan is approved. We anticipate the state Senate to vote on the budget sometime next week.