Senate fails to pass malpractice legislation – for fourth time

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Providers this week expressed disappointment that the Senate followed tradition and once again failed to pass medical malpractice legislation.

The Medical Care Access Protection Act of 2006, sponsored by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), would have capped total noneconomic damages in malpractice lawsuits at $750,000. The Senate defeated the bill by a vote of 48 to 42. Rising liability insurance premiums and per-bed loss costs are a growing problem in nursing homes, the American Health Care Association said.

The Senate also defeated a similar bill sponsored by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). This bill would have capped noneconomic damages at similar levels in malpractice lawsuits filed against ob-gyns. These votes marked the fourth and fifth times in the past three years the Senate voted down malpractice legislation.