Senate votes down tort reform bill for ob/gyns

April 1, 2004



Just 14 days after S. 2061 was introduced, the US Senate held a cloture vote on the ACOG-supported medical liability reform legislation. The 48-45 vote effectively closed debate on the Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Access to Care Act in the Senate, according to the electronic newsletter American Health Line (2/20/04).

Among the now-defunct bill's provisions was a cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits against ob/gyns. The bill also would have capped punitive damages against ob/gyns at $250,000 or twice the amount of economic damages, whichever is higher.

While ACOG and other supporters of the bill had promoted it as a women's health measure that would help stem the tide of skyrocketing insurance premiums, opponents attributed the problem of skyrocketing premiums to insurers wanting to compensate for investment losses—not to high damage awards in malpractice cases.