Jack Whitver. (RI file photo)

A top GOP leader says enacting limits on what judges and juries can award in medical malpractice lawsuits will be a priority for the 2023 legislature. Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says in the past six years, the Senate has passed two different limits or caps on non-economic or so-called “pain and suffering” awards in medical malpractice cases.

“We’ve passed both a $250,000 cap and I think we passed a $1 million cap a couple of years later, trying to figure out what the House might be willing to do or engage on that issue,” Whitver says, “and so it’s been a priority for us.”

Four of the six states that border Iowa have limits on medical malpractice claims.

“As we look around the state, our rural hospitals are struggling. One of the ways to try to recruit and keep doctors is to make sure they’re in a liability situation that’s comparable to other states,” Whitver says. “We’re not trying to do anything that is outside that norm. We’re trying to compete with the states around us.”

Nebraska and South Dakota have a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. Wisconsin’s is $750,000. Missouri’s limit is adjusted annually to account for inflation and it’s nearly $800,000 this year.

Radio Iowa