A bill that puts limits on “pain and suffering” damages in medical malpractice cases has been resurrected in the Iowa Senate. The bill failed last week, but today two senators who’d voted “no” switched to “yes” and the bill passed 27 to 21. Senator Bill Dotzler, a democrat from Waterloo, said democrat Governor Tom Vilsack — a trial lawyer — will veto the bill.Dotzler says it was a bad bill when it was defeated last week and it’s a bad bill today, and there’s no hope of it being signed into law. Dotzler says republicans twisted the old adage about “beating a dead horse” into “whip a dead horse until it will move.” But Senator David Johnson, a republican from Ocheyedan, says there are several reasons to enact “caps” on medical malpractice awards. Johnson says it’ll help control the cost of health care by reducing medical malpractice insurance rates. Critics say there’s no evidence those rates have fallen in states which have “caps.” Johnson says doctors tell him without limits on malpractice cases, they’ll go out of business.Johnson says lawmakers “dabble all the time” in schemes to boost teacher pay so Iowans will stay in the profession, and he urged senators not to forget about another profession, that of doctors and other health care workers. The two senators who switched from “no” to “yes” were David Miller, an attorney from Fairfield who’s a republican, and Joe Seng, a veterinarian from Davenport who’s a democrat.
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