Cap foes take to streets, television

Tampa Tribune
Thursday, July 3, 2003

Holding a picture of her daughter, Kim Bliss was one of several victims of medical malpractice who spoke Tuesday at a rally organized by several groups, including the Florida Consumer Action Network, a consumer and environmental group in Tampa.

Other sponsors included the Center for Justice & Democracy, a nonprofit group in New York that focuses on legal issues, and Floridians for Patient Protection, an organization of victims of medical malpractice and their families that doesn't disclose its donors.

The Legislature will meet July 9 in the second special session called by Bush to deal with rising medical malpractice rates in Florida. The governor is pushing for a cap that would limit jury awards for noneconomic damages, or "pain and suffering," to $250,000.

"The people who can least fight are the people who are most hurt by this," Gene Stilp of the Center for Justice & Democracy said at the rally.
Stilp has been traveling in a bus to states considering such malpractice caps. 

The bus provided the backdrop for the rally. On its side was a large sign: "Don't Let Big Insurance Companies Steal Our Children's and Seniors' Medical Rights."

Opponents of a cap blame insurance companies for rising malpractice rates. Supporters blame trial lawyers. Both sides contend their real concern is patients.

"We don't want to hurt the doctors," Stilp said. "We want to see the doctors helped. The doctors unfortunately have become the front group of the insurance industry."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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