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Mon November 1, 2004
Medical Malpractice Issue Hits The Ballot
Laramie, Wyoming –
Voters will get to decide four constitutional amendments Tuesday, but two of the most controversial surround a possible solution to high medical malpractice insurance rates. Constitutional Amendment C would allow legislators to set up a medical review panel to weed out so-called frivolous cases. Amendment D allows legislators to cap non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice cases. Shauna Roberts of Citizens for Real Insurance Reform says that the amendments give legislators too much power. "What you are doing is turning over to legislators in Cheyenne, authorization that is best left with jurors." Wyoming Medical Society President Robert Monger says the key issue is that the high rates mean certain specialists can't practice in the state. But he says insurance companies are not to blame. "Oh, I don't think so at all. These are multi-state companies and we are such a small state on the map and I don't think that is an issue at all. I think the issue is the liability system."
While Roberts fears that victims could be hurt if the amendments pass, Monger has said the greater fear should be that communities might have even more difficulty finding specialists.