NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – With four days left in the session, the Governor unveiled a bipartisan bill to drastically lower the cap on medical malpractice settlements. Republicans have been clamoring for changes all session long, saying the high cap and high malpractice insurance costs are scaring doctors away from New Mexico.
The governor says over the last year, they’ve been trying to figure out how to make New Mexico a friendlier place for independent doctors and independently-owned clinics; basically, health care providers who aren’t under the umbrella of a hospital. She believes Senate Bill 523 is the solution. “It’s pretty simple: Patients are protected, we are clear about getting insurance coverage, and practices are clear that they can provide those services to patients throughout New Mexico,” says Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-New Mexico.)
Flanked by Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) and Senate Minority Leader Gregory Baca (R-Belen), officials laid out the tenets of the new bill. It includes lowering the medical malpractice settlement cap from $5 million to $1 million to make sure healthcare providers can afford insurance coverage. Senator Baca says he believes the deal strikes the right balance saying, “I think this is a win for New Mexico’s doctors and New Mexico’s patients.”
The governor says the plan is to introduce the bill in the Senate Tax Committee Tuesday afternoon, Mar. 14, and get it to the floor by Wednesday, Mar. 15. She says she is confident it will make it to her desk by the end of the session.
There are around eight other bills this session that deal directly with the question of medical malpractice. Many are Republican backed and have stalled out in committees.