INDIANAPOLIS -- The House Judiciary committee Monday revived a bill that reforms Indiana’s medical malpractice law. Supporters say it’s unconstitutional to keep relatively low money caps on malpractice lawsuits.
The bill raises the amount someone can collect for a single malpractice incident, from $1.25 million to o$1.65 million. It hasn’t been raised in 18 years.
Failed negotiations between hospitals, trial lawyers and doctors kept the bill from being heard last month.
And it seems some of those disagreements haven’t been resolved. On top of raising the malpractice cap in January, the bill raises that cap again in two years, then every four years until 2031.
Supporters say this accounts for inflation and prevents future legislators from having to deal with the issue. Others, such as Indiana State Medical Association spokesman Michael Rinebold, says the increase would further discourage physicians from working in Indiana.
“You’ll have physicians making business decisions, because this is cost of insurance, cost of doing business, they’ll make decisions whether or not to stay as a qualified provider, participate in the act, versus going on the private insurance market and buying their own private policy to cover themselves,” Rinebold says.
Tim Kennedy, representing hospitals, says the original law’s intent was to balance the interests of health providers and injured patients.
“But when the caps haven’t been increased in 18 years, it’s hard to say that those interests remain balanced,” Kennedy says. “If anything the interests of the injured patient have sort of fallen away. So this bill fixes that.”
The bill passed 11-1.