As Florida doctors rally today for malpractice reforms, the Florida Senate is considering one bill that would roll back premiums by 20% and another that would limit losses for physicians providing emergency care.
In a state with some of the highest malpractice premiums in the nation, more than 3,000 physicians were expected at the afternoon rally at the old state Capitol in Tallahassee, the Florida Medical Association reports.
Earlier in the week, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved the measure to roll back premiums, a committee aide confirmed. The bill gives carriers a year to appeal to the state Department of Insurance for a reduction in the rollback if the carrier can show that it cannot make a "fair rate of return" on the lowered rates.
The bill is backed by consumer groups and trial lawyers, who believe that insurance company practices are to blame for rising malpractice rates. Nationwide, these groups are facing off against physicians, hospitals and insurers, who blame the crisis on rising litigation.
Meanwhile in Florida, the Senate Health, Aging and Long-Term Care Committee passed a bill that would cap total payouts for suits involving emergency care at $100,000, using the state's sovereign immunity law.
FMA spokeswoman Lisette Gonzalez Mariner says the FMA supports the bill, but it lacks the association's No. 1 goal, which is a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages. She adds that she did not know the FMA position on the banking committee's bill.