The future of national medical malpractice reform dimmed when the Senate voted not to take up legislation that would cap noneconomic damages; however, the Senate can yet take up an alternative malpractice reform bill introduced yesterday by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Meanwhile, several prominent Democratic senators vowed in a letter to President Bush to oppose any Medicare reform bill that coerces seniors into managed-care plans by withholding an equal drug benefit under traditional Medicare. Three senators did not participate in the 49-to-48 Senate vote that tabled the malpractice reform legislation. Under Senate rules, at least 60 votes were needed to bring the matter up for consideration. The bill, which closely mirrors House legislation that passed in March, never won significant support among Democrats. It would have to be modified for the Senate to reconsider debate. -- by Tony Fong and Jeff Tieman
Senate won't debate malpractice reform bill
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