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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Obama Says Medical Malpractice Reform Is ‘On the Table’

Posted Mar 18, 2009 1:50 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Obama administration is considering medical malpractice reform as part of an overhaul of the health care system.

Past efforts to cap pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice suits failed in recent years, the Associated Press reports. But now some Democrats and the president himself say costs need to be curbed as health care changes are made.

Speaking to business leaders last week, President Obama said he endorses money-saving ideas such as "medical liability issues—I think all those things have to be on the table." The AP article says damage caps are likely to be a “nonstarter” but other ideas under discussion include alternative dispute resolution and special health courts.

Obama was more specific in legislation he introduced with Hillary Clinton in 2005, according to AP. The bill would have created an ADR program to allow patients to learn of medical errors and would have established negotiated compensation with the offer of an apology, according to the story.

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