A legislator whose husband was on President Clinton’s health care reform task force in the early ’90s says it’s time for state officials to appoint a task force to tackle the medical malpractice controversy.Representative Helen Miller, a democrat from Fort Dodge, is an attorney who’s married to a doctor who practices in Fort Dodge. She says as a result, she’s looked at this issue for years from both sides. Miller says capping the amount of “pain and suffering” awards in medical malpractice cases doesn’t lead to a reduction in liability insurance rates for doctors. Miller says Nebraska has a 350-thousand dollar limit on “pain and suffering” awards in medical malpractice cases, yet insurance rates for Nebraska doctors have gone up about 40 percent since the cap was enacted. Yesterday, Miller tried to convince her House colleagues to vote to create a task force on medical malpractice that involves all parties — doctors, lawyers, and insurance companies. Miller says she wants the task force to take a serious look at the problem and come up with a solution rather than a “knee-jerk reaction.” That’s how Miller characterizes the idea of limiting damage awards in medical practice cases. The Iowa House last week passed a bill that would cap at 250-thousand dollars the amount someone can win as “pain and suffering” damages in medical malpractice claims.
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