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Poll: Americans support tort reform

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 8, 2006

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Three-fourths of Americans surveyed support medical liability reform legislation, according to an April poll conducted for the Health Coalition on Liability and Access, a national advocacy group of organizations representing doctors, hospitals and insurers, including the AMA.

Of the 1,001 adults surveyed, 76% said they would favor a law that places a reasonable limit on pain and suffering awards in medical liability lawsuits, while providing full payment for lost wages and medical expenses; 18% said they opposed such a measure. The poll also showed that 75% of those interviewed want their elected representatives in Washington, D.C., to support a national comprehensive bill.

A majority of survey respondents, 64%, agreed that medical liability lawsuits are one of the primary causes for rising health care costs. In addition, 74% agreed that their access to care is threatened by medical liability costs that are driving doctors across the country to leave their practices.

The American Medical Association and the HCLA are advocating for federal legislation. HCLA supports a "reasonable" cap on noneconomic damages. The AMA supports a bill that includes a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, with no limit on economic damages.

The House has already passed a bill that includes the $250,000 cap. The Senate is expected to address the issue this month. President Bush has said that he supports a $250,000 noneconomic damages cap.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/05/08/prbf0508.htm.

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