NAII: Pa. Med Mal Reform Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough
Responding to the news that the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed only one of a number of bills aimed at alleviating the state’s medical malpractice insurance crisis, the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) declared more measures need to be taken to remedy the situation.
“Senate Bill 138, requiring medical malpractice lawsuits to be filed in the same county where the medical treatment was received, provides one badly needed reform, but much more needs to be done in the 2003 session,” said National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) Counsel Ann Weber. Gov. Mark Schweiker signed the bill in October.
“Another needed reform is to put a reasonable maximum limit on medical malpractice awards,” Weber said. “The paramount goal must be to be sure that Pennsylvania citizens can obtain medical care they need at a location convenient to them.”
Physicians have been discontinuing certain practices or moving out of the state in recent months because of high medical malpractice insurance prices due in large part to excessively high jury awards to plaintiffs.
Another bill passed in the session that ended early Thanksgiving morning was SB 813, which mandates a five percent annual discount in workers’ compensation insurance premiums for five years for employers that have a safety committee operating in accordance with Insurance Department requirements.
Also passed was SB 1416, an insurance producer licensing bill that contains an exemption for insurer employees who are not engaged in the sale, solicitation or negotiation of insurance contracts. NAII has long supported such an exemption.
Several bills that sought to restrict insurers’ use of credit-based insurance scores died during the session. The most serious attempt was a proposed Senate amendment to an auto titling bill, House Bill 152, that would have prohibited insurers from using credit scores. The Senate rejected that move in a vote on the floor.
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