Proposal caps malpractice awards

Oregon’s KGW-TV
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Imagine you need brain surgery, but can’t find a doctor who’ll operate. Or you want to have your baby at the nearby community hospital, but learn doctors there no longer deliver babies.

Doctors argue that without a federal cap on medical-malpractice awards, that’s what will happen. They are quick to point out that it’s already happening in Oregon.

Not everyone agrees federal legislation is the answer. But on Tuesday, one group strongly urged lawmakers to reform America’s liability laws.

Doctors want the federal government to cap pain-and-suffering awards in malpractice cases at $250,000. Patients could still recover future medical expenses or losses of future earnings under the proposal, modeled after a long-standing law in California.

The U.S. House approved the proposed changes last month. The Senate now must take up the issue.

There are groups that disagree with doctors on this issue.

The Center for Justice and Democracy and USAction will launch a television ad campaign on Wednesday. The ads will run in several key states – including Oregon – over the next few days.

The ads argue that any cap on medical malpractice awards will ultimately deny victims their rights. The commercials will use real-life stories to illustrate their point.

The commercials are the latest in an ongoing campaign of ads and counter-ads from groups on either side of the issue.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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