Opponents Of President lay blame on insurance companies

Missouri’s KSDK-5
Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Opponents to President Bush's plan say juries should continue to determine damages for malpractice awards.
They blame insurance companies for the cost of malpractice insurance.

Attorneys feel the solution rests with insurance reform. "You know we need to get rid of these punitive damages in medical malpractice cases, well there have been no punitive damages in medical malpractice since the early 80's," said Greg Shevlin of the St. Clair County Bar Association.
In the eight-year period ending in 2003, 320 malpractice, negligence and wrongful death suits were filed in Madison County. 169 of those were dismissed, ten cases were transferred or consolidated, seven cases were decided for the defendant, only four cases were decided for the plaintiffs with damages totaling less than two and a half million dollars. 130 cases are still pending.
Amber Hard is with the Center for Justice & Democracy. She says the proposal that president bush outlined Wednesday is devastating for families and for patients.
Those impacted by medical malpractice believe caps on lawsuits only victimize them again. "The same thing is happening all over the country," said Hard. "The problem is the insurance rates, not the particular county or the kind of jury awards, so the solution is regulating insurance costs."
Illinois is known as the state with most lax system for regulating insurance industry. A member of the St. Clair County Bar Association says the state department of insurance has never denied a rate increase request filed by a company operating in the state.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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