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House Takes a Positive Step to Help Stop
Rising Insurance Premiums

For Immediate Release. September 27, 2002The nation's health care system is being plagued by a national insurance crisis. Major insurers have been forced to eliminate coverage or increase premiums to unaffordable levels as medical professionals' liability insurance rates skyrocket. Physicians as well as other health care providers are being forced to quit their practices or have to relocate because of rising insurance premiums, especially in high-risk medical specialties like emergency medicine, gynecology, neurology, and obstetrics.

As a result, the House of Representatives took a step in the right direction to stop skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums when it passed by a 217-203 vote the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2002. This legislation caps pain-and-suffering damages that juries award in malpractice suits. The measure also allows unlimited economic damage, such as for past and future earnings, but would limit non-economic damages to $250,000.

The current crisis is the result of attorneys and the legal system. Primarily a result of escalating jury awards and the burgeoning costs of defending against lawsuits which include frivolous claims, premiums have been forced to escalate. "It is time to stop an out-of-control liability system that is harming physicians, hospitals, and most importantly the patients," said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy. "Such legislative reform is a step forward in improving America's health care system, not lining the pockets of attorneys."

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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