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Medical Malpractice Reform Fails Again

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Medical malpractice reform legislation has failed again in the Senate.

S. 2207, a bill that would have capped non-economic and punitive damages in cases involving obstetrical/gynecological services and emergency room and trauma care services could not muster the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture, which would have prevented a filibuster of the controversial measure.

The final vote on the cloture petition was 49-48. S. 2207 will now likely be removed from the Senates calendar.

This is the second time that the Senate has tried to enact medical malpractice reform by focusing legislation on specialties that have been particularly hard hit by malpractice insurance premium increases.

An earlier bill targeted at ob/gyn services also failed to muster the 60 votes needed for cloture.

Mohit Ghose, a representative of Americas Health Insurance Plans, Washington, says AHIP hopes the Senate will continue its efforts to reform the liability system.

AHIP, he says, has long believed in the need for liability reform and that reform should come sooner rather than later.

Reform is important to improving the quality of health care, Ghose says, in that it would encourage transparency and public reporting in the health care system.

Under S. 2207, non-economic damages in cases involving emergency room and ob/gyn procedures would be capped at $250,000. Punitive damages would be capped at $250,000 or twice the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 9, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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