No Medical-Malpractice Cap In Budget

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While Gov. Andrew Cuomo got most of what he wanted in the budget, he did agree to strip the idea of a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards from the agreement.

The med-mal provision was opposed by Democratic lawmakers and health-care advocates, but was aggressively supported by unions and the health-care industry. In fact, the proposal was considered a key one in getting unions and the health-care groups to support the recommendations of the Medicaid Redesign Team, on which many of the groups were members.

“There was disagreement on the net effect of the cap,” Cuomo said, adding that health-care groups are still supportive of the plan.

Still, Cuomo did get a living-wage provision that was backed by unions and other provisions he pursued.

The budget includes “a global cap” on state Medicaid expenditures of about $15 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, which would be overseen by the state health commissioner.

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12 Comments

  1. It is going to be really hard to get tort reform passed in New York. Think about it, there are probably more lawyers in New York than anywhere else in the world. While New York medical malpractice insurance is a total disaster in New York, I can’t see tort reform getting passed. New York medical malpractice insurance rates are by far the highest in the country. (see http://www.equotemd.com/blog ). NY desperately needs tort reform to cut down on the number of frivilous claims but if they push for caps it will be a difficult fight.

    Razia

  2. Razia,

    Can you give us some examples of plaintiffs who you know or know of who have won frivilous medical malpractice cases?

    Michael

  3. Weitz & Clutzemberg on

    Dear Michael the Lawyer,

    It’s not a question of frivilous or not frivilous. It’s a question of plaintiffs automatically being awarded millions for doctor’s best judgement calls. And Silver receiving a salary from Weitz and Luxemburg, the biggest of the medical lawsuit industry.

  4. What is always missing from tort reform conversations is how will the medical community set up systems to improve the system and lessen medical errors? What will happen to doctors who should not be practicing?

    Until the insurance lobby and medical lobby take some responsibility for patroling themselves, then tort reform should not be passed. If they do, then it should. The problem is I am not sure that good doctors will ever stand up to bad doctors– too much to lose, too much trouble to their life. I am a non-MM att. with two doc-brothers. My brothers tell me stories all the time of medical errors by other doctors where there are no consequences on the doctors– besides the guilt of killing a man or woman.

    Tort reform advocates usually only talk about half the issues, the ones that favor their positions. Until they open the discussion fully, they should not be trusted. IMO.

  5. Yeah, well I’m a person that suffered as a result of medical malpractice and I’m GLAD that this cap did not pass…HOW DO YOU PUT A PRICE ON PAIN AND SUFFERING??? HOW EVIL for Cuomo to even CONSIDER this!!! THANK GOD it didn’t pass…Because his budget cuts already are taking away from the health care for the poor and needy…It’s a good thing he didn’t infringe upon the rights of those who have SUFFERED from negligent doctors!!!!!!!

  6. 1. The problem with frivolous lawsuits is much more than settlements. Having to go to deposition, court, meetings with lawyers all require time. We can’t close the office just because I have to appear in court. We can’t just stop seeing patients in the hospital because the plaintiff’s lawyer wants to ask me some questions. ESPECIALLY IF IT IS A FRIVOLOUS CASE!!! Imagine you get admitted to the hospital with an emergency-and you get “we are sorry, your doctor is in court and will see you tomorrow”. And unlike the useless lawyers, we can’t just go tell another doctor all of the details of knowing the patient for 20+ years and have the other doctor treat the patient.
    2. Jamie-I am very sorry for what happened to you (whatever it was). Although, we already have a price on life. Federal government allows approximately 50,000 per 1 patient year of life. So the 250,000 cap would have been equivalent to 5 years of life!!!!! A lot of pain and suffering would equal 5 years of life-as far as I am concerned.

  7. just the facts on

    i would like someone to explain to me that if a phsician or a hospital deviates from
    the standard of care recognize for a particular procedure…and that is the only way
    to recover money in a lawsuit…doctors can make legitimate mistakes but they cannot
    deviate from the accepted standard of care…but when that happens for example
    and a person who plays tennis everyday looses his leg..how much do you think
    his pain and suffering should be limited too…just askin..because you seem to be
    jumping all over tort reform without a basic understanding of how damages are awarded

  8. Weitz & Clutzemburg on

    what do you mean “deviates”? doctors and insurance lose many millions every year for making on the scene, must-act-now-or patient-dies decisions, and greedy lawyers pounce on it. It’s no coincidence that half the Assembly and State Senate are lawyers themselves.

  9. just the facts on

    that’s not a fair portrayal of what happens…medical mal is not like the usual negligence
    case..in order to win…you need an expert to testify not that the procedure had a bad
    result but that the treating doctor didn’t do what he should have under accepted
    medical pracitce..eg that he deviated from what is expected..you think that doctors
    are all brilliant..they are not ..just as lawyers arenot…when a doctor causes a greivous
    injury because of his incompetence what is your problem with the person who suffers
    the injury being compensated…you never answered my hypothetical about the lost
    limb because you can’t…this is not about saving a life situations..this is about screwing
    up because you don’t know what you are doing….and for that doctors and or hospitals
    should not get a free pass…what about the hospital that introduced a metal object
    into an mri room while a kid was in the machine killing him instantly…greedy lawyers again