September 17th, 2009
11:11 AM ET
12 years ago

White House unveils $25 million medical malpractice initiative

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="White House unveils $25 million medical malpractice initiative."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration announced a $25 million medical malpractice initiative Thursday as part of its plan to rein in skyrocketing health care costs.

The program, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, will fund grants of up to $3 million awarded on a competitive basis to states and health care systems for creating and evaluating "patient safety and medical liability demonstrations," according to a release from the White House.

A review of various malpractice reform initiatives will be completed by December, the White House said, and will be used to evaluate future grant applications.

The announcement is a nod to conservatives who have emphasized the role of malpractice lawsuits in rising health care costs.

Filed under: Health care • Obama administration
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Terry from Texas

    The legislature of Texas capped medical malpractice amounts at $250,000. It is no longer possible, in Texas, to be awarded the millions that other states allow. So, if your surgeon removes the wrong foot or removes your child's lung instead of her kidney, you would be entitled to about three years in pay (after attorney fees) in compensation.

    Studies have shown that this law has had absolutely no impact on the cost of medical care in Texas. However, our insurance companies are just as prosperous as any in the nation.

    September 17, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. rob

    Examples of mal-practice reform are right in front of us...see Texas and California. The Dems in Congress and the Administration will pay 25 Million worth of lip service to this issue but nothing substantial will come of it.

    Howard Dean let it slip when he said the Dems don't want to pick a fight with the Trial Lawyers. They are a "Special Interest group" that donates Millions to the Dems re-election campaigns and would be the big losers if there are caps on law suits.

    September 17, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. NJ

    Rethugs have been carping for this. It will be ineresting to hear their explanation for how he's still wrong.

    Congressman Weiner is right....Obama looking for bi-partisanship is like a child looking for a unicorn.

    September 17, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Mark

    Why not just go with the malpractice laws they have in Texas, they seem to be working well. I guess that would take effect to quickly for the trial lawyers who own our representatives and senators.

    September 17, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. JP

    This is a sham some states have implemented medical malpractice reform and it is a huge a success. This is like spending money to determine why water freezes. Obama said, "defensive medicine that maybe contributing to unnecessary costs" there is no maybe YOU LIE. Let me give you the maybe number Mr. President lawyer and chief its 150 billion a year. So why do YOU LIE about this because, the trial lawyer campaign contributions dollars you receive are more important to you than my tax dollars. Your window dressing only tort reform statements are a joke. I am sure putting Kathleen Sebelius former head of the Kansas trial bar in charge of looking at the issue will yield nothing. Putting her in charge of this important issue reform is like making Jack the ripper surgeon general. To get the truth on this issue check out Howard Dean video statement on the trial lawyers.

    September 17, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Big Al 66

    Ok Republicans, whats wrong with this? Im sure you can spin the hell out of it..Can't wait to hear this..

    September 17, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. They call me "Tater Salad"

    So if Dr. Jones down the street misreads a chart and accidently amputates the wrong limb (it's happened) he suddenly has more rights than the poor sap on the table? Is that how i'm to understand the Heath Insurance Industies weak excuse as to why they raise their rates, premiums and co-pays at will while they try to find any loophole they can dance through to justify denying you coverage in the end anyway?

    September 17, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Caps on pain and suffering awards do not significantly reduce med mal premiums. Vigorous medical disciplinary programs, not run as "peer-review" coverups by medical societies, would help.

    September 17, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Steve in CT

    Since lawyers are payed by a percentage of the settlement the only time they'll take a case is if they stand to make 30% of at least a million dollars. Any case less than that goes by the wayside. If the law puts a cap of a million $ or less there will in effect be no malpractice suits leaving doctors more comfortable to have a few drinks before performing operations or reading xrays or diagnosing etc..

    September 17, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Dan

    Too (very very) little, too late (even as a political move....)......

    Most health care expenses in some areas are by malpractice lawyers; the friends and likes of John Edwards of infamous democratic party scumbags...

    If Obamacare is about cost saving tort reform (a real one) is needed.

    September 17, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Kate in SW Fla

    This President is serious about being non-partisan and trying to work out what is best for the Country! It is just such a shame that the Republicans, and the far right in particular, are just obsessed with trying to make him "fail." Very sad indeed.

    September 17, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. keith A. sillsbury

    until you can put a reasonable value on a human life we will continue to have law suits paying out millions in damages where there should be thousands instead. I say a human life is worth .02 cents but in court, one to five million, no matter who it is or how much they make per year.

    September 17, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, North Carolina

    Good start.

    September 17, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Vivian

    Republicans are sure to object to this also. They don't want anything to change. The GOP is nonproductive!

    September 17, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Lila

    Ten bucks says these people still won't give him any credit or respect for this. Nothing short of Obama walking out of office will make these whackjobs happy...

    September 17, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Donna Ortiz

    I honestly believe the public option in the health care reform is absolutely NON negotiable. What other real competition is there for us to deal with these insurance companies motivated by profits alone. As for health CO-OPS Pleazee!! We need to do this right otherwise mandating healthcare will just make insurance companies richer. I am so tired of the concern regarding the insurance companies. The Public option Must be part of the package. Stop the far right from all the lies. Please, Please call it like we see it Cnn . Do you realize that Fox news tears us and Obama apart all day every day and lies all the time. Who cares if we have to pass this without republican support? They will not support it anyway unless it favors special interests. Lets get a backbone America.

    September 17, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Whackjob Racist

    NO PUBLIC OPTION! Stop spending money this country doesn't have. Stop spending money that our kid's grand kids won't be able to pay back.

    September 17, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Sam Sixpack

    10 to 1 wing-nuts everywhere will say this $25 million is somehow a meaningful amount. In case you're just stupid, this gesture amounts to less than 10 cents per American. What a scam.

    September 17, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Zion

    Watch the party of no still do no. They still rejected Baucus' plan without the public option. I wish Libertarians would step up and bring their own proposals, they are more sincere than Republicans.

    September 17, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. R in Maine

    That is not what the Repubs want. They just want doctors to be free to abuse patients and to make mistakes without and consequences.

    September 17, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. IndyVoter

    Republicans are never satisfied. Bush did what he wanted and showed the rest of the country his backside. Never once extended an olive branch, a nod, or any other conciliatory gesture. Now Repubs slap the hand Obama is extending. You love your hate and misery and would rather burn in hell than to work with the President....Sad.

    September 17, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Ron

    Wouldn't tort reform make more sense?

    September 17, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. sara in nc

    now, why would the Republicans (for the most part) be so vehemently against a very tiny portion of the Health Care Policy that is run under the government, when every one of those who oppose it have the exact same health care policy?I guess they don't like there own health care policy so maybe the government which is supposed to be the peoples' government, should terminate the congress health care and place them under private insurance health care.

    September 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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