Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Supports Cap on Non-Economic Med Mal Awards

March 12, 2003

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has voiced its support for a bill introduced by Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA) that would limit pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases to $250,000. The Chamber has written to members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation, urging them to favorably consider HR5, the Greenwood bill.

“High jury awards are being blamed for dramatically increasing medical malpractice insurance premiums and for driving insurance providers from our region and from Pennsylvania,” wrote Mark S. Schweiker, President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, to the legislators. “More must be done to assure that liability insurance is affordable and available to Pennsylvania physicians and hospitals.” He warned the State’s accomplishments and reputation for excellent health care were at stake.

A similar measure was passed last fall by the House, but was not considered by the Senate before the end of the legislative session. The Chamber has written members of the Pennsylvania Legislature urging them to address tort reform and liability insurance issues. It noted that “A series of medical malpractice measures in Pennsylvania passed last year including the elimination of joint- and-several liability, ending the practice of “venue shopping,” and a phase- out of the CAT fund.” However, it believes further efforts are needed to solve “the medical malpractice crisis.”

“While we have succeeded in taking some very important steps to mitigate the medical malpractice insurance crisis in Pennsylvania, doctors continue to limit their practices either because they cannot afford or cannot find medical malpractice insurance coverage,” Schweiker stated. “Thirteen other states are facing a similar crisis. We believe the time is right to establish a national standard.”

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