President's Proposed Remedy to Curb Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Stalls
- Almost everywhere President Bush traveled on the campaign trail last year, he lashed out at plaintiffs' lawyers for filing "junk lawsuits" that he said were sending the cost of health care out of sight.
These days the president rarely mentions the topic, and the effort in Congress to rein in medical malpractice litigation has stalled, according to proponents and opponents of the bill.
The troubles faced by his "med-mal" proposal may signal a turn in Bush's fortunes on domestic policy. In the first three months of the year, he scored large and comparatively easy victories on legislation to restrain class-action lawsuits and to revamp bankruptcy laws to make it harder for consumers to wipe out their debts -- both measures that had been long sought by business interests.
But those proposals represented what a senior Democratic Senate aide called "low-hanging fruit," easily picked by a newly reelected president. The medical malpractice legislation -- a more complex and more controversial idea -- is proving to be a longer reach.
Right now, the various states are all over the map (no pun intended) with regards to MedMal reform. The only way to get a consistent playing field is for the US Congress to do something. This is looking less likely.