Legislation & Lobbying

Obama Offers Sketchy Details of Possible Med-Mal Tort Reform Experiments

In a speech yesterday on health care reform to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama offered few details of possible changes to medical malpractice laws that could accompany his proposal to implement a national health care program.

And today White House aides offered only a little bit more information about the limited “demonstration projects” the president expects to fund, reports the Washington Post.

However, they apparently fall far short of the caps on malpractice damages awards that Republican lawmakers, in particular, have promoted in recent decades.

Instead, the president hopes to find ways to encourage lower-cost settlements without capping damages, the newspaper says. One approach might be to require the certification of merit from a board of experts that some states already mandate before a medical malpractice suit can be filed.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Obama Hints at Med-Mal Tort Reform, But Cutting Awards May Not Be Answer”

First Read (MSNBC): “Obama agenda: Details or lack thereof “

Wall Street Journal: “The President’s Tort Two-Step”

Updated on Sept. 11 to link to subsequent Wall Street Journal post.

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