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House Makes Effort to Stop Skyrocketing Malpractice Insurance Premiums

For Immediate Release. March 14, 2003The House of Representatives took a positive step in liability  reform to stop skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums when it passed on February 13, 2003,  by a 229-196 vote, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2003 (H.R. 5). 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 nation's health care system is 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.

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.  “For too long, for their own personal financial gains, many attorneys have been harming physicians, hospitals, and most importantly the patients by fostering a legal system that has resulted in an out-of-control liability system,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.  “The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2003 (H.R. 5) is a positive effort to improve America's health care system as it discourages attorneys from lining their pockets with financial rewards obtained from frivolous claims, " added Dr. Rutkowski.

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
757-436-5927
jrutkowski@americanvoiceinstitute.org

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