Medical malpractice bill dies in the House

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A bill that would require insurance companies to get approval before raising premiums died on third and final reading in the state House of Representatives.

Supported by the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, House Bill 1344 originally was written to raise non-economic caps for medical malpractice suits from $300,000 to $460,000. But the bill didn’t have enough votes, and sponsor Christine Scanlon pulled those provisions.

“It failed because of CMS (the Colorado Medical Society) and their wholly owned insurance company spreading misinformation and exaggerations inside the legislature,” said CTLA executive director John Sadwith. “And also because of the economy. The economy is in the back of everyone’s mind right now.”

Alfred Gilchrist, executive director of the Colorado Medical Society, said he understood the trial attorney’s anger, but hopes the two groups can meet for conversations about health care reform.

“This gives me a sense of hope that we can move on and start the conversation — how all this fits into the rubric of health care reform,” he said. “We made the decision that we will work with everybody and anybody to have a facilitated, meaningful conversation with the trial lawyers. I’m disappointed to report that we haven’t even be able to agree on a facilitator.”

This is the second year in a row that a proposal to both to raise non-economic caps and to require a review before rates can be raised has failed.

For and in-depth look into the story, see May 1 print edition of the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

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