One of the more polarizing issues in the state’s budget talks was Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to put a cap on medical malpractice payments.
Doctors and hospitals love it, while consumer groups and trial lawyers hate it.
Today, Cuomo’s proposed cap was excluded from the tentative budget agreed to by Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Cuomo’s proposal would have limited damages paid by doctors and hospitals for pain and suffering to $250,000 and set up an indemnity fund for neurologically impaired infants.
Dr. Robert Silverman, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Upstate Medical University, said rising malpractice costs are prompting some doctors to quit obstetrics and pushing young doctors to leave the state.
Dr. David Duggan, president of the Onondaga County Medical Society, said malpractice insurance rates in New York are among the highest in the nation and those costs ultimately get passed along to insurers and patients.
The consumer group Public Citizen calls Cuomo’s malpractice proposal “inhumane.”
In a letter to Cuomo and state lawmakers, Public Citizen said the measure would take away New Yorkers’ legal rights and shield doctors and hospitals from liability for negligent medical errors that injure and kill patients.