The Physician Insurers Association of America is pointing to conclusions by two bipartisan panels for medical malpractice reform as supporting its views that sensible legal reforms curbing medmal claims are critical for deficit reduction policies to work.

In justifying changes in medical professional liability (MPL) laws, The PIAA, Rockville, Md., cites the work of two groups that, working independently, are crafting deficit reduction policies.

One group, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force, Washington, recent unveiled a report calling for effective medical professional liability reforms as a part of the solution to alleviate the country’s current budget deficit. That group is chaired by Pete Domenici, former Republican U.S. Senator from New Mexico; and Alice Rivlin, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under the Clinton Administration.

PIAA also points to the draft report of the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. This proposal also notes the benefits of medmal reforms to the federal budget.

PIAA “applauds the Policy Center’s Task Force, as well as the chairs of the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, for recognizing that sensible reforms, such as limiting noneconomic damages, would result in notable savings for Americans,” says Lawrence E. Smarr, PIAA president.

The Policy Center report calls for federal incentives to encourage states to enact meaningful caps on noneconomic and punitive damages in MPL lawsuits.

The report estimates federal savings of nearly $300 billion during the next 30 years if such laws were enacted.

In addition, the Debt Reduction Task Force calls for grant programs to encourage states to enact additional MPL reforms.

Such reforms, the report says, could result in even further savings to the federal budget.

“The report is the second one in a week noting the fiscal benefits of effective MPL reforms,” Smarr says.

“State initiatives, such as those implemented in California and Texas, have already demonstrated the tremendous success of caps on noneconomic damages in containing healthcare costs, as well as improving patient access to care and empowering physicians to practice the best possible medicine.”

PIAA is a national association of physician/provider-owned and/or -operated medical liability insurance companies, which insure more than 60% of America’s private practicing physicians, as well as dentist and other healthcare practitioners and hospitals.