Medical Liability Reform Stalls in Senate

July 10, 2003

The Senate Republican leadership tried to revive medical liability reform legislation in the Senate on Wednesday, but Democrats reportedly blocked consideration of The Patients First Act of 2003 (S. 11) by a vote of 49-48. Sixty votes were needed to proceed.

“The National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII), commends Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Assistant Majority Leader, and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) for leading the effort and showing continual support for S. 11. Despite the disappointing outcome of today’s vote, and the uncertainty of further action this year, NAII along with the business and health care communities will continue to fight for medical liability reform legislation to improve access to health care for everyone,” said Carl Parks, senior vice president, government relations.

S. 11 would limit punitive damages in health care liability lawsuits to two times the amount of economic damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.

The measure would also limit non-economic pain and suffering damages to $250,000, institute a fair share rule to allocate damages based on fault, limit the time within which a suit may be brought for damages, and establish a fee schedule to limit attorney contingency fees.

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