DeLuca, lawmakers file brief in support of lawsuit against UPMC

Legislators urge state high court to preserve patient choice by extending consent decrees

PITTSBURGH, April 25 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, along with 50 other Pennsylvania lawmakers filed a legal brief Wednesday in support of the state attorney general’s lawsuit against UPMC. The lawsuit seeks to modify and indefinitely extend the UPMC-Highmark Health consent decrees that are set to expire June 30.

“Since this dispute began I have continued to push to ensure access to affordable, quality health care services for all residents, regardless of their insurance provider,” DeLuca said. “This is about more than two health care institutions fighting over market share. This is about people’s health, and about putting people and patients first.

“Both UPMC and Highmark enjoy nonprofit status in this state, but that status brings with it an obligation — an obligation to do what is right and to serve the public. I am proud of my fellow members in joining together to file this legal brief to fully support Attorney General Josh Shapiro in his efforts to rectify this problem and make the public’s health the priority.”   

Shapiro filed suit to modify the consent decrees in February, arguing that UPMC is obligated, as a charitable organization funded by taxpayer dollars, to protect patients’ access to affordable care.  He filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court earlier this month asking the court to either expedite review of the consent decrees before they expire or to keep them in place while the lawsuit is ongoing.

The House Democratic Caucus’s amicus curiae brief provides additional support for the lawsuit.

Also Wednesday, a federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit UPMC had filed against the attorney general challenging his authority to modify the consent decrees.