Bush urges cap on med mal as lawsuits drive up cost of cover

Insurance Day
Friday, January 17, 2003

US president George Bush was expected last night to call again for a cap on damages for medical malpractice (med mal) lawsuits in a bid to put an end to what he calls frivolous lawsuits that are driving up insurance and healthcare costs. Speaking in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the president was due to propose a limit of $250,000 on non-economic damage awards for "pain and suffering" in med mal lawsuits, and also a "reasonable" cap on punitive damages in these cases. 

The issue of med mal has been discussed in the US Senate for some time. Mr Bush has made previous statements urging the capping of non-economic damages, which have not been converted into action by the lawmakers in Congress. 

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Insurers have increasingly backed out of the med mal line over the past few years, including former market leader St Paul in 2002. While some of the larger players like Chubb and AIG still write med mal cover, the business is now increasingly undertaken by mutual companies owned by physician groups in individual states. Last year Medical Liability Mutual Insurance was ranked in the top five med mal cover providers by rating agency AM Best. Much of the opposition to award caps has come from consumer groups such as the Center for Justice & Democracy and Citizens for Consumer Justice. 
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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