NU Online News Service, Aug. 2, 11:45 a.m. — Washington

Federal Patient’s Bill of Rights legislation is effectively dead for this year, according to the leading proponent of the legislation in the U.S. House.

Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Augusta, Ga., says the breakdown of talks between Senate leaders and the White House over the issue of tort reform ends prospects for the legislation.

“The White House moved far off their starting line, and 99% of the legislation was in agreement,” Norwood says in a statement about the breakdown. “Both sides came so far. The only hurdle left standing was a non-economic damage cap. Unfortunately, the trial lawyers couldn’t live with a cap. It is frustrating to me that legislation that would do so much for patients and health care providers can be vetoed by trial lawyers.”

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle says he will appoint Senate members to a House-Senate Conference Committee that will now try to develop a consensus bill.

But, “if negotiations between the White House and Senator Kennedy could not succeed, adding a dozen more voices isn’t going to make things any better,” Norwood says.