Maryland's Legislature will tackle medical malpractice insurance costs in a special session, trying to reach an agreement on how to address liability premiums scheduled to rise about 33% for physicians in 2005. Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. has said the state should use existing revenue for a fund to help doctors offset the higher cost. Democratic legislative leaders have argued that a tax on HMOs should underwrite the fund, a proposal Ehrlich has previously vetoed. Legislators will hold hearings next Tuesday and enter a special session Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the governor's office said Ehrlich was "very optimistic" the issue could be resolved. Ehrlich planned to deliver a proposed bill to legislative leaders later today, the spokeswoman said. -- by Michael Romano
Md. to hold special session on malpractice costs
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