News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray issued the following statement on Senate consideration of a medical malpractice bill:

"I'm pleased that the Senate is looking at medical malpractice insurance reform, but am again disappointed that the Republican leadership is focusing on a deeply flawed proposal that will not fix the problem.

There is no question that high malpractice insurance premiums are hurting doctors, patients and communities, and there is no question that we need responsible, effective reform. That's why I'm so disappointed that this opportunity is being squandered on a bill that offers no guarantee of lower rates, no immediate relief for doctors, no federal reinsurance to fix the broken malpractice insurance marketplace, and no measures to reduce medical errors.

Doctors and patients deserve better, and that is why I continue to push for a comprehensive solution to the problem. Any reform plan should include these five steps:

  • Provide immediate relief for doctors and hospitals through significant tax credits.

  • Cut down on frivolous lawsuits by requiring any case that is filed to include an affidavit from a qualifying medical professional verifying that malpractice has occurred

  • Protect doctors who serve Medicare, Medicaid and S-CHIP patients

  • Have the federal government underwrite the risk of malpractice insurance, just as we've done with flood and terrorism insurance.

  • Reduce medical errors by creating a National Patient Safety Database.

We need this type of comprehensive approach to provide real relief. Instead, the Republicans want to pass a flawed bill that has not even been considered by a Senate committee, offers a huge giveaway to insurance companies at the expense of patients, and is presented to us with little opportunity to amend or improve this ineffective bill. We can do better.

I am pleased that in Washington state, we are making progress on malpractice reform thanks to the dedicated leadership of our governor, Chris Gregoire. In February, Governor Gregoire brought together all sides – doctors, attorneys, insurers, hospitals and patient advocates to address the real issues in Washington state. They agreed on some important policy initiatives related to patient safety, insurance reform and tort reform. The state of Washington is moving forward to implement those initiatives, which represents a good first step. The progress in Washington state is further proof that a one-size-fits-all approach will not meet the needs of different states.