Rep. James Greenwood, (R-Penn.), yesterday reintroduced his tort reform legislation from last year, calling for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, according to Greenwood aides.
The bill passed the House last year, but never reached a vote in the Senate, but President Bush has endorsed the cap and the new Republican Senate is interested in the issue.
Also yesterday, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Judd Gregg, (R-N.H.), and Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah), announced that they will hold a joint hearing on tort reform.
But Senate Democrats have opposed the $250,000 cap and Senate Republicans are not all getting in line behind it. Sen. Rick Santorum, (R-Penn.), told the Washington Times yesterday that Greenwood's bill could serve as a "starting point" for debate in the Senate but has little chance of passing.
The AMA, a supporter of the Greenwood bill, is gearing up its lobbying effort. The organization released a Gallup poll yesterday showing that 57% of Americans think there are too many lawsuits against doctors; 74% think the medical liability system is in crisis or is a major problem, and 72% favor a cap on non-economic damages.