Rodger Lawson, president of the Alliance of American Insurers, has urged Congress to enact meaningful medical malpractice liability reforms, in order to avert a growing crisis. Lawson called the medical malpractice reform package being introduced recently by President Bush a “solid step forward for the American health care system and the American economy.” The President’s plan includes many items supported by the Alliance: it would cap recoveries for non-economic damages; it would reserve punitive damages for cases where they are justified; it would provide for payments of judgments over time rather than in a single, lump sum; it would ensure that old cases could not be brought years after an event; it would reduce the amount doctors must pay if a plaintiff has received other payments from an insurer to compensate for their losses; and would provide that defendants pay judgments in proportion to their fault. “The Alliance of American Insurers supports meaningful medical malpractice reforms, such as the use of caps for non-economic damages and abolition of joint and several liability in all types of litigation as a means to reduce escalating jury awards and settlements. Reforming the medical malpractice system is critical, because the rising costs of health care are borne by numerous insurance lines: workers compensation, automobile, homeowners, etc. All lines share some of the escalating costs. In order to provide much-needed relief for doctors and insurers laboring under the rising costs of litigation, the Alliance of American Insurers urges quick passage of the President’s plan,” Lawson added.
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