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Monday, February 23rd 2004

The Honorable Judd Gregg
United States Senate
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Gregg:

On behalf of the American Hospital Association (AHA), I am writing to offer our support for S.2061, the “Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Access to Care Act.”  The AHA applauds your leadership and believes that your bill is a good first step towards reforming our nation’s health care liability system. 

While we continue to support a comprehensive approach to reform, we know first hand the importance of protecting obstetrical and gynecological services, an area in which access to care is most in jeopardy due to liability costs that are among the highest in the nation. Your bill stands for the principle that patients’ rights can be protected at the same time that medical liability costs are reduced.

We believe that capping non-economic damages at $250,000 and limiting punitive damages to twice the amount of economic damages awarded, or $250,000, whichever is larger, would help preserve access to health care services across the nation.  While the bill also includes collateral source payment offsets, thus preventing double payment for the same expense by two or more insurance companies or other payers, we are concerned that the bills language is weaker than the House-passed version.  We look forward working with you and your staff on improving that language as the legislation moves forward.

The AHA stands ready to work with Congress to enact meaningful professional liability reforms. Please call Curtis Rooney, senior associate director and counsel, at (202) 626-2678 if you have any questions.


Rick Pollack
Executive Vice President


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