Romney Calls For Caps On Noneconomic, Punitive Damages In Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

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Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Presidentialcandidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) on Tuesday in Iowa called for caps onnoneconomic and punitive damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. During a speech at Des Moines University, Romney said, "I believe we have to enact federal caps onnoneconomic and punitive damages related to malpractice," adding,"These lottery-sized awards and frivolous lawsuits may enrich the triallawyers, but they put a heavy burden on doctors, hospitals and, of coursethrough defensive medicine, they put a burden on the entire health caresystem."

Romney said that as president he would encourage states to establish healthcourts overseen by judges who have experience in malpractice lawsuits and tosanction attorneys who repeatedly file frivolous claims (Pitt, AP/HoustonChronicle, 11/20). "We've got to rein in the incessant cost ofmedical liability," Romney said (Pierce, Washington Times, 11/21).

In addition, Romney said that as president he would seek to increaseflexibility for state health care programs and provide incentives for states torevise health insurance regulations to help reduce the cost of private coverage(Schulte, Des Moines Register, 11/21).

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Richardson Discusses Single-Payer System

Presidential candidate andNew Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) on Tuesday at Rivier Collegein New Hampshire said that, although he is not entirely opposed to the idea ofa single-payer health care system, he prefers to allow U.S. residents to have achoice, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.

He said, "I'm starting to warm up to it a little bit because I get veryfrustrated with insurance companies. ... They tick me off, and I wish I couldsay, 'You're out of this business.' The problem with that is, fundamentally, Ibelieve every American deserves choice." In addition, he said that asingle-payer health system would lead to a new, complex bureaucracy and thatand that he would prefer to establish new regulations for insurance companies(Ramer, AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/20).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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