In the face of public opposition and other looming issues, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is now planning to bring Medical Malpractice legislation to the floor the week of May 8th, a week later than originally announced.
Delay Will Not Avoid Consumer Rights Opposition
Despite the delay, this will still be a major legislative battle. Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum recently told a group of doctors that he and his colleagues "are going to go to war in Washington, DC" to create a cap on non-economic damages.
The cap Sen. Santorum supports is half the amount his wife sought in damages when she sued her chiropractor in 1999.
Expected Provisions of Senate Bill
Although the bill hasn’t been made public yet, sources say the bill will:
- Establish a $250,000 cap on non-economic loss against doctors or hospitals. While disguised as a $750,000 cap, only $250,000 is available against an individual defendant
- Eliminate joint and several liability
- Establish attorney fee caps
- Virtually eliminate punitive damages
- Preempt only state legislation more favorable to patients
Across the nation, pro-civil justice activists are fighting back against this legislation designed to tilt the playing field in favor of powerful corporate interests – such as the American Medical Association, which has launched a grassroots advertising campaign this week focused on passing medical liability reform in the U.S. Senate. Escalating jury awards and settlements, coupled with the high cost of defending against lawsuits, force highly skilled doctors to limit services or retire early, which seriously impedes patient access to care. U.S. Senate Bill 22 would stop lawsuit abuse and protect families. Tell your Senators to stand up to the powerful special interests and support Senate Bill 22.
Here are the true figures on medical malpractice cases.