Connecticut Gov. John Rowland has made no final decision on whether he'll abide by an earlier veto threat on medical malpractice liability legislation that just passed the state Legislature.
"The decision on it is expected next week," said the governor's spokesman, Chris Cooper, today.
Rowland earlier threatened to veto the med mal bill if it did not contain caps on noneconomic damages.
The Senate on Tuesday approved the legislation passed by the House last week that proved a disappointment not only to Rowland, but also to the Connecticut Medical Society, because it did not contain the caps that both sought.
"We certainly don't like it," said Tim Norbeck, executive director of the medical society. "We can't support it. It's smoke and mirrors. It's not going to do a single thing to alleviate this crisis."
An amendment that would have capped noneconomic damages at $350,000 for physicians and $650,000 for hospitals was defeated 81-63 in the House on April 26. The version that moved on to the Senate did not include noneconomic damage caps.
It includes a state income tax deduction for physicians to be used to offset the cost of medical malpractice insurance premiums. It also reduces from 12% to 8% (or 4% in come cases) the interest rate paid by defendants of malpractice suits on the difference between a plaintiff's settlement offer and the amount of a final judgement during the period between the date of the settlement offer and date of a judgment or settlement that is more than twice the settlement offer. It also would establish a modified mediation panel.
The tax deduction "probably would not have worked," Norbeck said, and overall, the legislation "clearly does not stop the blood flow."
"Now, the governor probably vetoes the bill and the situation continues to deteriorate as it will in other states, and you just keep fighting," Norbeck said. "But we'll never give up."