The American Medical Association continued its attack on trial lawyers, charging that greedy lawyers are threatening the health of Americans with groundless lawsuits that drive up malpractice premiums and reduce access to care.
"This honorable profession is being destroyed by a very small set of people who benefit financially from this (legal) system," said AMA President Donald Palmisano, M.D., a New Orleans surgeon.
Palmisano, who is also an attorney, delivered the keynote speech at the annual meeting of the Physician Insurers Association of America in Boston.
PIAA, based in Rockville, Md., represents about 50 insurance companies owned primarily by doctors, dentists and hospitals.
Palmisano again called on Congress to pass a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages to help stabilize malpractice premiums.
In a report released earlier this month, PIAA, citing figures from the National Practitioner Data Bank, said total medical malpractice claims payments rose 30% between 1999 and 2003, reaching $4.9 billion.