Federal medical tort reform faces uphill climb

Around 15 years ago, U.S. state capitals were regularly besieged by large numbers of physicians demanding legislatures do something about skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance rates.

Before one such rally in Connecticut in 2003, Henry Jacobs, an obstetrician and head of the Hartford County Medical Association, told the Associated Press: “People have finally reached the breaking point. They’re panicked.”

This wave allowed physician groups to have considerable success in getting legislation passed in many states. However, in other areas of the country they have run into constitutional bans on such laws. Moreover, they have repeatedly failed to get the U.S. Congress to pass federal malpractice insurance reforms to cap noneconomic damages in lawsuits. Over the years, several bills have passed in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, only to fail to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the U.S. Senate.

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By David Raths / Physicians Practice / 6-5-17