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Obama Voices Support for Medical Malpractice Reform

February 20, 2011

During his State of the Union address President Obama spoke in support of reforms on medical malpractice lawsuits. It is unclear whether Obama would ever support caps on damages, which he has previously opposed. Such limits would serve as a financial cap on the amount of money that can be awarded to a person stemming from a medical malpractice lawsuit and be enforced on a national level.

The passage of caps on damages would restrict the amount of money in damages a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer would be able to sue for on behalf of his or her clients. Some states such as California and Texas have already enacted laws that place a cap on the amount of money that can be awarded to a victim of medical malpractice. The states that have financial caps in place have attributed these laws with keeping down medical costs and insurance premiums.

In his speech Obama stated, "I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs… including medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits." The President is looking for ways to reduce the cost of medical coverage since signing his health care bill into law. Many insurers have opted to raise their premiums in order to be able to keep up with the costs incurred by the recent health care reform and in anticipation of the rising costs brought on by healthcare laws that will be implemented during the course of the next couple of years.

Patients' advocates have also voiced their direct opposition to such a law. They have vehemently condemned the usage of the word frivolous when it comes to these types of lawsuits and have presented case after case demonstrating the need for some patients to receive a reward far in excess of the amount of money that their state allows.

Advocates for patients' rights and representatives from the American Association for Justice, which is an organization that represents personal injury lawyers, have denounced Obama' suggestion for a national cap calling for governmental action that would instead help to reduce the number of people that die every year as a result of negligent medical errors.

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