Thursday, November 11, 2004
Although President George Bush's November 2 may be interpreted as a victory for doctors over trial lawyers, at least two states, Oregon and Wyoming, rejected limitations on liability in medical malpractice cases. In Oregon, state voters defeated an iniative that would have specifically capped damages for medical malpractice awards. The Wyoming iniative concerned the amount of noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. BNA's Health Law Reporter provides more information about these two state ballot iniatives.
Interestingly, Wyoming is the home state of Vice President Dick Cheney who stated during his debate with Senator John Edwards,
"In Wyoming, we've lost the top insurer of malpractice insurance in the state. The rates for a general practitioner have gone from $40,000 a year to $100,000 a year for an insurance policy. We think this has a devastating impact on the quality of health care. High risk patients don't get covered anymore. We've lost one out of eleven OB/GYN practitioners in the country. We think it can be fixed, needs to be fixed."
It is unclear why voters didn't believe him (could it be because of his "I never met you before" gaff?) but perhaps Wyoming might try insurance reform so that some competition exists in the state for the provision of medical malpractice insurance.