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For Immediate Release

Date:  April 8, 2005/tia

Roskam: Medical malpractice crisis nearing critical mass

Springfield, IL – Senator Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) says the recent move by Senate Democrats to reassign a medical malpractice measure to another legislative committee is putting the future of health care in jeopardy.

In the midst of a series of hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 150 and other medical malpractice related bills, it was recently announced that all of the medical malpractice legislation was being reassigned to the Senate Executive Committee.

“I serve on both of these committees and there is no question that the sincere efforts of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were moving in the right direction,” Roskam said. “But now the future of health care rests in the ability of one of the most partisan legislative committees to come up with a solution. The ranking Republican in the Senate Judiciary Committee has the title of co-chairman because there is an agreement by Democrat and Republican members of that Committee to work in a bipartisan manner. No such agreement exists in the Senate Executive Committee.”

Roskam said a recent editorial in the downstate Belleville News-Democrat newspaper compared the medical malpractice crisis to the “doomsday” clock that counts down how close we are to nuclear destruction. The editorial stated that if there were a “doomsday” clock for the medical malpractice crisis, the clock would be close to midnight based on recent developments in Illinois and in surrounding states.

For instance, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt recently signed a new law lowering caps on economic damages to $350,000. But here in Illinois, partisan games have stalled the process of reform.

“Once atoms reach critical mass, it sets off a chain reaction resulting in an uncontrollable release of energy,” Roskam said. “If our neighboring states continue to implement reforms while we do nothing, the end result will be catastrophic for the future of our health care. We need to act quickly to pass meaningful medical malpractice reform.”

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