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States Place High Importance on Medical Malpractice Reform

Thirty-four states debated medical malpractice insurance reform this year, with nine of them passing legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The issue has caused a number of special sessions and is expected to return next year. At the center of the controversy is the contentious proposal to legally limit the jury awards for “pain and suffering”. Putting caps on the awards, claims insurance companies, would limit the amount of potential payouts, thereby lowering insurance premiums. Medical malpractice attorneys and other opponents of the caps have stated that high premiums are the result of poor investment practices by insurance companies. They also believe that caps would limit victims’ ability to gain fair compensation for injuries caused by medical error.

“It’s an incredibly contentious issue… it’s so difficult to come to a compromise and get something passed in the legislature,” claimed Trudi Matthews, the chief health policy analyst for The Council of State Governments.

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