Carper Rejects Federal Caps for Medical Malpractice

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) today said that the Administration’s plan to have the federal government override state laws on medical malpractice “overreaches”. “This plan overreaches by injecting the arm of the federal government into a problem individual states can and should address. Insurance is an industry regulated by states, not the federal government. As long as that is the case, the first place to solve what is a real problem is in the states where it occurs,” Carper said. “Rising medical malpractice rates present serious problems and require a focused, tailored approach. States, not the federal government, are best equipped to solve these problems.” President Bush today endorsed a nationwide cap on medical malpractice liability limits. The proposal would limit non-economic damages to $250,000 and cap punitive damages at two times economic damages or $250,000 — whichever is greater. “While I am aware of the impact that rising medical malpractice insurance premiums are having throughout the country, I believe that state governments can and should handle this matter as they see fit. In fact, a number of states have already implemented similar laws, while a number of other state legislatures are considering such laws as well,” Carper said. Carper was a two-term Governor of Delaware and was a past Chair of the National Governors’ Association. “I am confident that our state legislators and their respective governors can work out a solution to this problem that will ensure that victims of malpractice continue to receive just compensation for their injuries, while at the same time keeping insurance rates at a reasonable level,” Carper said.