Romney Calls for Damage Caps in Malpractice Suits
Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) on Tuesday in Iowa called for caps on noneconomic 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 on noneconomic and punitive damages related to malpractice," adding, "These lottery-sized awards and frivolous lawsuits may enrich the trial lawyers, but they put a heavy burden on doctors, hospitals and, of course through defensive medicine, they put a burden on the entire health care system."
Romney said that as president he would encourage states to establish health courts overseen by judges who have experience in malpractice lawsuits and to sanction attorneys who repeatedly file frivolous claims (Pitt, AP/Houston Chronicle, 11/20). "We've got to rein in the incessant cost of medical liability," Romney said (Pierce, Washington Times, 11/21).
In addition, Romney said that as president he would seek to increase flexibility for state health care programs and provide incentives for states to revise health insurance regulations to help reduce the cost of private coverage (Schulte, Des Moines Register, 11/21).
Presidential candidate and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) on Tuesday at Rivier College in New Hampshire said that, although he is not entirely opposed to the idea of a single-payer health care system, he prefers to allow U.S. residents to have a choice, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
He said, "I'm starting to warm up to it a little bit because I get very frustrated with insurance companies. ... They tick me off, and I wish I could say, 'You're out of this business.' The problem with that is, fundamentally, I believe every American deserves choice." In addition, he said that a single-payer health system would lead to a new, complex bureaucracy and that he would prefer to establish new regulations for insurance companies (Ramer, AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/20).