What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Insurance Industry : HR 5. Caps on Malpractice Awards/Vote on Rules of Debate on a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits. (2003 house Roll Call 62)
 Who: All Members
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HR 5. Caps on Malpractice Awards/Vote on Rules of Debate on a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.
house Roll Call 62     Mar 13, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Republicans had long complained that the growing size of medical malpractice awards was making the health care system more expensive for everyone and driving many doctors from the profession. They proposed a bill to cap these awards: at $250,000 for pain and suffering damages, and at either twice the economic damages or $250,000--whichever was greater--for punitive damages. Progressives--and Democrats generally--agreed that some restrictions on awards were necessary, but they felt the Republican approach limited patient rights without requiring that malpractice insurance companies would pass any savings on to physicians. They were also angry at the way Republicans handled the bill. In the House, the rules for debate on a bill must be passed separately from and before debate begins on the bill itself. The rule Republicans proposed for the malpractice bill forbade any amendments, and 29 of the 31 pending amendments had been drafted by Democrats. Progressives opposed the malpractice bill itself, so they opposed this restrictive rule as well. They voted "no," but the rule passed, 225-201.

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