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Illinois legislature passes bill limiting medical malpractice awards

[JURIST] The Illinois House and Senate [official legislative website] sent a bill to Governor Rod Blagojevich [official website] early Tuesday seeking to lower doctors' medical malpractice insurance rates by capping medical malpractice damage awards. SB 475 [bill status and text] passed the House 68-46 and the Senate 36-22 and would limits victims' pain and suffering damages to $500,000 from individual doctors and $1 million from hospitals while strengthening oversight of insurers and doctors. Blagojevich has pledged to sign the legislation, but caps on lawsuit awards have been thrown out by the Illinois Supreme Court [official website] on two previous occasions. While supporters of the bill argue it is necessary to keep doctors practicing in Illinois, critics claim its arbitrary limits unconstitutionally discriminate against the poor, minorities, the elderly and women. AP has more.

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