(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – President Bush was in Arkansas today to discuss the issue of medical malpractice insurance.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today reiterated her support for the Durbin/Graham bill - bipartisan legislation that would provide real insurance reforms while providing immediate relief to our doctors and hospitals.

“Today, the President again discussed the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. While I agree with him that this is an issue of immediate concern, I disagree with his approach because it fails to address the roots of the problem, provide real insurance reforms, or provide immediate relief to our doctors and hospitals.

We all agree that health care in this country is in crisis. But it is too simple to suggest that a single proposal will accomplish what we need. Washington state doctors are being squeezed by everything from insurance premiums to Medicare reimbursement rates. Patients are experiencing rising health insurance costs which often force them to put off seeking help until their conditions have deteriorated. And communities across our state are suffering from doctors closing their practices, retiring early or moving to other states.

But a national crisis does not call for an arbitrary one-size-fits-all answer that treats every state – and every case – the same. In order to solve this national crisis we must examine the roots of the problem: patient safety. We must also be willing to discuss problems within the insurance industry. Any discussion that overlooks these elements is not a serious one.

I support a bipartisan solution that addresses medical errors, reduces frivolous lawsuits and helps hard hit doctors with high cost of insurance.

The bipartisan Graham/Durbin bill will provide real relief to doctors and hospitals and end the stalemate in the U.S. Senate. Unlike the President’s proposal, Graham/Durbin does not preempt state law. Each state, including Washington, would be free to address unique malpractice problems, without a “fix” imposed from Washington, D.C.

The President’s proposal is shortsighted and offers no real structural changes to a badly damaged system. I will continue to work to pass the Durbin/Graham bill and address patient safety and insurance reforms while providing our doctors and hospitals with real relief.”