Bush focuses on medical malpractice legislation

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President Bush issued a new appeal to resuscitate medical malpractice legislation on Monday in Little Rock, AR. He also called attention to the issue during his weekly radio address Saturday. Earlier last week, listed it as one of his priorities during the State of the Union address.

Expressing hopes of curtailing "frivolous lawsuits," Bush says he wants to cap noneconomic damage awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000 for pain and suffering to tackle rising federal healthcare costs. Liability costs continue to wallop long-term care providers and other healthcare professionals.

The House has passed a Bush-backed liability reform bill several times, but in each instance the Senate has refused to take up the cause. Most observers are pessimistic about the odds of a liability reform bill passing this year.

White House spokesman Taylor Gross said Bush chose Arkansas as the forum for his speech Monday because last year the state legislature ratified a limited medical liability cap similar to the one Bush seeks to impose nationwide. The state is also key to Bush's campaign efforts.