Briefs from the state Capitol – Med-Mal Caps

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Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn.: The state medical society warned a legislative committee Friday that as many as 100 of the Connecticut’s 500 obstetricians could stop delivering babies by the end of the year.

Doctors are blaming rising medical malpractice insurance premiums for forcing physicians out of business. They’ve called on the legislature to impose a $250,000 cap on non-economic jury awards to help stem the tide of rising insurance rates.

“We have talked about a crisis in Connecticut for months, and unless something is done to stabilize premiums and make insurance more affordable, we will lose a lot more very good doctors,” said Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, chief medical officer of Women’s Health Connecticut.

But it remains unclear whether that proposal will become law this session. Lawmakers from three committees are still working on a compromise bill, it appears that some want to study the issue further.

“It’s questionable whether a cap would even stabilize the situation,” said Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, a Judiciary Committee member.

Douglas Heller, a consumer advocate with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights in California, told lawmakers that insurance reform, not caps, ultimately lowered rates in his state.

Also Friday, lawmakers heard testimony on a bill to ban the practice of preventing malpractice settlement recipients from reporting their experiences to state regulators unless they are subpoenaed.

The committee’s deadline is Wednesday to vote on these bills.

Consumer Watchdog
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