Clip files / Local news from the states

This column features selected short items about state health care policy.

Maryland unveils malpractice bill

ANNAPOLIS, MD—The Ehrlich administration released in December an executive summary of its bill aimed at averting Maryland’s medical-malpractice insurance crisis. The bill was the focus of a special legislative session on the issue. It called for disciplining lawyers who file frivolous cases under a new three strikes law and for allowing health care providers the right to apologize without it being considered an admission of guilt in a malpractice case.

A key provision in the bill would create a stop-loss fund that would cover a 33% increase in doctors’ malpractice-insurance premiums for three years. The stop-loss fund has been a point of contention between Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who is a Republican, and Democratic legislative leaders. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, both Democrats, favored lifting a tax credit for HMOs, which they estimated would generate up to $70 million to cover the higher insurance premiums.

Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2004