Medical malpractice gets past House slowdown to Governor

May 1, 2013

The following article was published in The Florida Current on May 1, 2013: 

Medical Malpractice Gets Past House Slowdown to Governor Rick Scott’s Desk

By Gray Rohrer

House Republicans blocked a move by Democrats to kill legislation (SB 1792) aimed at making it harder to bring medical malpractice lawsuits. A subsequent 77-38 vote along largely partisan lines passed the bill, sending it to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 27-12 last month.

Rep. Dave Kerner, D-Lake Worth, tried to offer an amendment that would prevent insurers from using gun ownership as a factor in underwriting calculations. It was designed to kill SB 1792, which compels expert witnesses testifying against doctors to be in the exact same field of practice, rather than a “similar” field.

In their effort to disrupt the session’s final days, Democrats in the House wanted to force a vote, which would make Republicans nervous of attacks on their Second Amendment credentials. But Republicans blocked the amendment from being considered because it was filed late. Late-filed bills must receive a two-thirds vote to be considered.

House Democrats are trying to grind down the last three days of the legislative session, which ends Friday. They are forcing all bills to be read aloud before taking action in protest of the House Republicans’ decision not to accept federal money to provide health care to more than 1 million uninsured Floridians. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said he’s not backing down from the House plan to use only state funds to provide coverage to 130,000 more people.

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