Tort reform bill introduced in Senate

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Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) has introduced a liability reform bill that caps non-economic damages at $250,000 per healthcare provider.

The "Medical Care Access Protection Act of 2006," which applies to including assisted living facilities and nursing homes, as well as other providers and institutions, caps non-economic damages at $500,000 if more than one institution is involved. It also permits punitive damages to be the greater of twice the amount of economic damages or $250,000. There is no limit on economic damages.

The legislation (S. 22) resembles tort reform legislation passed in Texas in 2002,departing from a California model that many lawmakers have attempted to emulate in the past. Ensign also introduced a tort reform bill with Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) in February of 2005. He reportedly said he expects Democrats will try to filibuster this latest proposal. In the past, the House repeatedly has passed tort reform bills only to see them stall or die in the Senate.