Governor Tom Vilsack, who is a lawyer, is opposed to a bill that would establish a quarter-of-a-million dollar cap on medical malpractice awards for pain and suffering. Vilsack says the bill is a “solution looking for a problem.” Vilsack says Iowa juries aren’t handing out gigantic verdicts in medical malpractice cases. Vilsack says “Iowans don’t go crazy” and award multi-million dollar judgments to plaintiffs. Vilsack says Iowa juries are “very fair minded” in justly compensating victims for injuries that are not their fault. Vilsack says he’s been in jury trials for 23 years, and Iowans take their responsibility as a juror very seriously, and that’s why judgments here aren’t skyrocketing like they are in states like Florida and California. But Republican legislators say Iowa doctors are finding it more and more difficult to afford medical malpractice insurance, partly because insurance companies calculate rates based on what’s happening around the country, not just in Iowa. Vilsack says the bill should instead direct insurance companies to base their rates for Iowa doctors on the Iowa medical malpractice climate. Doctors intend to rally at the statehouse today to urge legislators and the Governor to pass the 250-thousand dollar cap on medical malpractice “pain and suffering” awards.
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