Cheney pushes malpractice caps as key in presidential campaign
Vice President Cheney promoted a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards Monday at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo in a campaign speech. Cheney said individual tax credits, additional community health centers and more modern technology are ways to help Americans afford medical care. Healthcare is a key topic in the presidential race.
A report by the Department of Health and Human Services found that expenses traceable to legal liabilities contribute between $60 billion and $108 billion a year to the total $1.6 trillion healthcare bill. Medical malpractice legislation with a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages would result in 4 million more people receiving health insurance, according to Congress's Joint Economic Committee.
An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, however, said the malpractice bill would benefit physicians and the government, but would reduce private health insurance premiums by merely 0.4%.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John F. Kerry (MA) and his running mate John Edwards (SC) have voted against limits on damage awards, saying malpractice suits have little impact on health spending but are an important option for patients severely injured by medical errors.