WASHINGTON (CNN) – A moderate Pennsylvania Democrat came out strongly Sunday against the possibility of imposing a cap on medical malpractice damages as part of comprehensive health care reform legislation currently under consideration in Congress.
“I don’t think the way to go is to limit the rights of Americans who are injured by negligent or intentional conduct,” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey who is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“A $250,000 cap on damages, in my humble opinion, is insulting to our system of justice,” Casey also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “That is not justice as we have come to understand it.”
In an interview that aired earlier on State of the Union, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain suggested that medical malpractice reform was one area where the GOP should begin to crystallize its own positive health care reform agenda now that Congress is about to begin to process of melding together several health care bills in both chambers.
But, pointing to the experience of her state, Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow suggested that the Republican approach to malpractice reform was too simplistic.
“There’s a different way to come at it,” Stabenow told King, “The Republicans have a very traditional approach over and over again – whether or not [malpractice reform] has worked.” Stabenow said damages caps imposed in Michigan had not stemmed increases in the malpractice insurance rates paid by doctors.
Last week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budge Office issued a cost estimate of the health care reform bill drafted by the Senate Finance Committee which concluded that inclusion of tort reform in the legislation would save $54 billion.