AIA Urging Careful Consideration of Med-Mal Bills by Md. House Panel

March 15, 2006

The American Insurance Association (AIA) on Wednesday urged the Maryland House Judiciary Committee to carefully consider a host of important medical malpractice bills that are currently before the Committee.

In 2005, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s (R) veto of HB 2, which was watered-down and ineffective medical malpractice legislation. While HB 2 included various changes to the civil liability system for medical malpractice cases, few were significant or expected to produce meaningful cost savings.

“The package of bills now under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee includes some of the civil liability reforms that have helped other states control costs, and were absent in the final version of HB 2,” explained Elizabeth Northrup, public affairs director, AIA Mid-Atlantic region.

The current legislative package includes the following individual bills: HB 767, HB 789, HB 790, HB 816, HB 936, HB 1059, HB 1136, HB 1214 and HB 1425.

“This package includes important and effective reforms such as standards for the qualification of experts, mandatory offsets for ‘collateral source’ and structured settlement payments, meaningful limitations on the calculation of future economic damages, allowing expressions of regret and apology, Good Samaritan protection and standards for emergency room care.”

“In 2005, an independent actuary retained by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) estimated that HB 2 would generate savings of 2.9 percent,” stated Northrup. “The Maryland General Assembly now has an opportunity to enact legislation that is expected to generate more savings than HB 2 would have, and will actually have an impact on the true cost of the medical malpractice insurance system.”

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