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Poll: Floridians Oppose Medical Malpractice Bill

A bill before Congress would dramatically change the way medical malpractice lawsuits are handled. (faustlawmarketing/morguefile)
A bill before Congress would dramatically change the way medical malpractice lawsuits are handled. (faustlawmarketing/morguefile)
March 30, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A bill before Congress would make it much harder to sue for medical malpractice, a measure nearly two-thirds of Floridians polled reject.

HR 1215 would pre-empt state malpractice laws and put a $250,000 cap on damages for life shattering injuries such as the loss of fertility, dismemberment, or even being burned over half of one's body.

Miami attorney Julie Braman Kane is president of the American Association for Justice, which commissioned the poll. She says this bill would protect the bad apples of the health care industry.

"Medical professionals who sexually assault patients, including nursing homes that neglect or abuse their residents, or pharmaceutical manufacturers who knowingly market deadly drugs or devices," she stresses.

Supporters of the measure say it would discourage frivolous lawsuits and bring down the costs of medical malpractice insurance. The bill would also limit the patient's attorney fees, which consumer advocates say would make it harder to find representation.

Given Florida's demographics and the fact that the state has a high population of nursing home residents, Braman Kane says the bill threatens to undo many of the protections the state Legislature has put in place.

"We have laws that address the way that problems in nursing homes are handled,” she explains. “And what this would do is completely take away Florida's right to have those laws that it worked hard on and put in place."

The poll, which was conducted in Florida and six other traditionally red states, found widespread opposition to the measure across party lines, age groups and all demographics.

The bill was slated for a vote last week, but was pulled on the same day as the GOP health care proposal. It's expected to be rescheduled in the coming weeks.



Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL