What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Hospitals : S. 11. Caps on Medical Malpractice Awards/Vote on Cloture to Shut Off Debate and Schedule a Vote on a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.
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S. 11. Caps on Medical Malpractice Awards/Vote on Cloture to Shut Off Debate and Schedule a Vote on a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.
senate Roll Call 264     Jul 09, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

Legislation to impose caps on medical malpractice claims has been on the Republican agenda since 1995. On March 13, 2003, the House adopted a bill to limit the amount patients could collect from medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 for pain and suffering and $250,000 for punitive damages caused by malpractice or negligence on the part of doctors. The House bill also capped attorneys' fees and restricted the legal definition of punitive damages. In July 2003, Senate Republican Leaders scheduled a cloture vote on the House bill in an effort to clear the bill for the President's signature (a cloture vote, if successful, cuts off debate and restricts amendments to the measure). Progressives opposed the House bill, and therefore voted against cloture, based on their objections to the proposal. In their view, the medical malpractice bill would restrict patients' rights while failing to address structural issues in the healthcare system (such as the prevalence of cost-cutting and patient-neglect by HMO's) which give rise to medical malpractice claims. Sixty votes are needed to invoke cloture and, with two Republicans joining a unanimous front of Democrats, the cloture motion was defeated 49-48.

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