Facebook Senator Jay Costa Offical Website

Eds and Meds: Making Investments Now Will Pay Off in Years to Come


      This week I joined Senate Democratic colleagues and medical professionals to explain our efforts to restore the potentially disastrous cuts proposed to Pennsylvania’s state-related medical schools, bioscience greenhouses, and regional cancer centers. The current Republican budget proposal makes deep cuts that jeopardize the health of our citizens and the quality of health care that will be available to Pennsylvania families.

      As a member of the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees, I know firsthand the magnitude of the role that Pennsylvania’s quality medical institutions of higher learning and teaching hospitals play on a statewide level and beyond.

      The University of Pittsburgh alone secures over $800 million annually for research. That translates into 28,000 jobs for the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Life Sciences Greenhouses Investments and Follow on Funding

Download PDF

     From an economic standpoint, we have to realize that modest investments in our state-related academic medical centers are multiplied several times over when you take into account the private and federal dollars which flow into Pennsylvania as a result of the success of these institutions. We can’t lose sight of the big picture and make reductions now that will cost us in years to come.

Costa: Restoring state money for medical schools a priority

By John Manganaro
Thursday, June 16, 2011

HARRISBURG -- Senate Democratic leaders signaled on Wednesday that restoring funding for state-related medical schools will be a priority during budget negotiations over the next two weeks.
But a Republican majority spokesman said it's still too soon to know how much of the money will be restored.
"We intend to continue pounding the drum on how critical investments in higher education, and particularly medical schools, are to the economic health of this commonwealth," said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills.
Read more: Costa: Restoring state money for medical schools a priority
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

      Offering quality competitive graduate medical education programs is one key way to attract a strong physician workforce throughout the state. We must do all we can to spark greater opportunities for young and promising students to stay in their home state. Nationally, the number of practicing physicians who work in the same state where they completed their residency training hovers around 50 percent. Only 35 percent of physicians who graduated from Pennsylvania medical schools practice in Pennsylvania. We want to do what we can to bump this number up – not drag it down. But by cutting Medical Assistance dollars to schools which educate our future physicians, we risk eliminating the reduced tuition they now offer to Pennsylvania students. We must do what we can to increase our odds of keeping good doctors in-state. Providing greater access to education for Pennsylvania students seeking to pursue careers in the medical field will reap rewards for years to come.

      I was pleased to recently participate in a landmark event for Temple University’s School of Medicine. It marked the arrival of a new campus in Pittsburgh and the second 4-year medical school in the city. This expansion of Temple’s program will not only strengthen the relationship between the state-related university and West Penn Allegheny Health System, but it will also provide greater opportunities for Western Pennsylvania’s best and brightest to pursue medical training in their home state. Temple University’s School of Medicine’s mission is to provide educational opportunities to Pennsylvanians – with 55 percent of Temple’s students coming from within state borders. Temple University, like the other state-related universities, is training and strengthening our future workforce.

Over the past few months, our Senate Democratic Caucus has been traveling across the state promoting the need to create jobs and provide educational opportunities to build a highly-educated workforce and prevent the “brain drain” we too often hear about. Our Senate Democratic Caucus has repeatedly offered our budget priorities and cost-saving alternatives. We do this because we cannot afford to go down a road which does not look at the big picture. We cannot sacrifice future economic success for short term gains and quick fixes.

      For example, Regional Cancer Centers are another valuable resource which would be devastated by both the Governor’s budget and the House Republican budget. I have seen the good work they do in Pittsburgh and at Penn, Penn State, and in the Northeast. Thousands of people participate in their community outreach, educational programs, and cancer screenings. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health estimates that cancer care costs in the United States could rise to as much as $207 billion by 2020. Giving those centers which promote prevention and early detection zero funding -- or cutting it by more than half – means we will pay more in the long run.

      As I have outlined in previous e-mails, Senate Democrats have pinpointed savings and efficiencies to the tune of 1.14 billion dollars. I also believe we should use a portion of the state’s anticipated $600 million surplus to fund these programs. If we use just a fraction, we can restore some of these vital program and still sock a substantial amount of money away into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

      As I have said in the past, we will continue to fight to restore funding for our public school children in Grades K-12, Pre-K and early childhood programs, and our state-system and state-related universities. I also feel strongly that we must not compromise the health of Pennsylvanians, the health of our economy and the vitality of our economic future.

Stay Connected

        For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook. Facebook





Property Tax and Rent Rebate program Facebook Heating Assistance / LIHEAP Official Website Download PDF