Governor's address calls for medical liability reform

The Madison County Record Feb. 4, 2005, 2:46am


Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in his State of the State address:

“…We can’t make health care more accessible or more affordable if we can’t keep doctors in our state. We need medical malpractice reform and we need it now. We can protect the personal assets of doctors, preserve the rights of injured people to bring their claims, and make sure insurance companies reduce their premiums.

“Last session we tried to get something done. Nothing. I appointed a mediator this fall. Nothing. Only gridlock.

“I know the lawyers are well represented around here. So is the medical society. And the hospital association. And the insurance industry. All of them wield a lot of influence.

“But the Constitution gives us the power to make the rules. So let's do it. Let us pass real, meaningful medical malpractice reform; reform that protects doctors, lowers the cost of their insurance premiums, and encourages them to practice medicine in Illinois.”

In response, a statement by Illinois State Medical Society President
Kenneth J. Printen, M.D.:

“We are encouraged by Governor Blagojevich’s call for meaningful medical liability reform. We hope he will take a leadership role in forging an effective bill to repair our broken legal system and keep doctors in Illinois.

“ISMS has proposed just such a reform package including the key component of caps on non-economic damage awards as well as measures to limit non-meritorious lawsuits.

“While we support sensible insurance reforms, forcing insurers to arbitrarily reduce premiums merely postpones the crisis and further destroys the insurance market. It will make matters worse --- not better.

“In the same vein, we are very concerned that the Governor’s announced support for government-established doctors fees in the workers compensation program will further worsen the medical practice environment and force more doctors to leave the state.

“Preserving patient access to medical care must be a priority in this legislative session. The Illinois State Medical Society supports meaningful reforms that will keep doctors in Illinois.”

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