Courtesy of PIAA, the Physician Insurers Association of America:
With Election Day approaching, the PIAA offers the following overview of the Presidential candidates’ MPL (medical professional liability) policy positions.
Barack Obama - The President has discussed the need to reform our liability system for many years. In a now-famous speech to the American Medical Association, he acknowledged that “doctors feel like they’re constantly looking over their shoulders for fear of lawsuits,” while dismissing the idea of caps on non-economic damages and characterizing them as “unfair.” Subsequently, his administration provided $25 million for state demonstration projects and planning grants to explore new reform concepts. His signature healthcare law included $50 million for additional demonstration projects, although a patient opt-out provision all but guaranteed the initiative would fail, even if it was eventually funded (which it wasn’t). In his 2012 budget request, he sought $250 million to encourage states to enact “alternative” reforms, but the Senate rejected his overall budget plan by a vote of 97-0.
Mitt Romney - The former Massachusetts governor lists “medical malpractice reform” as one of the key elements in his solution to the nation’s healthcare issues, and in fact included it in a list of his top five healthcare priorities. Specifically, he advocates for a federal cap on non-economic damages as the most important element in MPL reform. In addition, he promotes the use of federal “innovation grants” for states to explore other reforms, such as health courts and alternative dispute resolution. He held the same positions when he ran for president in 2008.
- Protect Texas’ existing medical liability reform laws, including caps on noneconomic damages and protections for emergency services.
-Stop efforts to create new causes of actions against physicians and other health care providers who are delivering evidence-based and clinically appropriate care.
-Oppose federal preemption of state civil justice reforms.