Oklahoma State Senate Communications Division
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 30 For Immediate Release: April 2, 2003 Clip
Senate Republican Leader James A. WIlliamson, flanked by other Republican legislative leaders, answers questions about tort reform
Republicans Offer Minimum Standards
for Successful Tort Reform Oklahoma City As the Governors task force on medical tort reform prepares to release findings, Republican legislative leaders unveiled a list of minimum standards for tort reform that would be required to consider any recommendation by the task force a success. Republican legislators were not invited and are not involved in the task forces negotiations, but we believe it is important for the public to know what would and would not constitute successful tort reform, stated Senator James A. Williamson, Senate Republican Floor Leader. The bottom line for Republicans is: will the proposal actually reduce the health care costs for the average Oklahoman? We believe that our constituents are demanding we take action to lower health care costs, and we are outlining a set of minimum tort reform standards to do just that. House Republican Leader Todd Hiett said, We need to see a medical malpractice package that is fair to doctors, lawyers, and most importantly patients. I believe that tort reform is not only important to the medical community, but tort reform is also vitally important to the business community. Broad based tort reform would help lower business costs and encourage job creation and economic growth. The minimum standards Republicans believe are required to significantly impact health care costs must include:
Broad based cap on noneconomic damages.
Eliminate joint and several liability.
Institute the collateral source rule.
Eliminate prejudgment interest.
Require expert certification before a suit can be filed.
Allow a periodic payment schedule.
Disallow contingency fees in class action lawsuits.
Level the playing field for nursing homes through the elimination of the Beggs amendment.
Cap on attorneys fees. If the Governors task force fails to offer a tort reform recommendation, or if its recommendation fails to meet the minimum standards, the Republican leaders said they would support an initiative petition effort to bring the issue to a vote of the people.