What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Insurance Industry : HR 5. Caps on Malpractice Awards/Passage of a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.
 Who: All Members
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HR 5. Caps on Malpractice Awards/Passage of a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.
house Roll Call 64     Mar 13, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Since retaking the House in 1995, Republicans had been interested in imposing caps on medical malpractice claims. They felt these claims had become so large that they were driving physicians out of the profession and increasing the cost of medical care for everyone. They proposed a bill that would cap pain and suffering damages at $250,000 and punitive damages at the greater of $250,000 or double the economic damages. The bill also capped attorneys' fees and limited the circumstances when punitive damages would be allowed. Progressives--and Democrats generally--agreed that something needed to be done about malpractice awards, but they argued the current bill would restrict patient rights while doing nothing to ensure that physicians (and so the system as a whole) would see savings on their malpractice insurance bills. However, with almost all Republicans supportive of the bill, Progressives and Democrats in general had very little say in the matter. The bill passed, 229-196.

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