Highlighting the Democratic strategy for medical liability reform, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation amending antitrust exemptions given to insurance companies. The exemptions that address only the malpractice segment of the insurance industry have allowed insurance companies to conspire to drive up premiums, leading to the current nationwide crisis, Leahy said. Faced with prohibitive premium increases, doctors have gone on work stoppages in several states. The other eight co-sponsors of the bill also are Democrats, a signal of the partisan nature of the current discussion on how best to address the liability problem. Republicans, whose leaders have said frivolous lawsuits are the root of the problem, have focused on putting limits on noneconomic damages. A Senate joint committee hearing was held yesterday to begin drafting legislation. -- by Tony Fong
Leahy introduces legislation to amend exemptions
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