Oregon Senators Try to Strip Rights from Citizens and Protect Insurance Companies

15 Oregon state senators have pledged to derail Senate Bill 1580 by demanding that the landmark legislation include a “cap” or limit on damages in medical malpractice claims – but only for those who can least afford it.

If a privately insured patient is hurt by a negligent or reckless doctor, that person is entitled to full reimbursement of their losses. But, under the proposed changes, if a doctor’s error permanently harmed a child covered by Oregon Healthy Kids, that child would be limited to a partial reimbursement of their losses.

The cost of medical errors isn’t alleviated by a damages cap: it is passed on to the poor victims and the hardworking taxpayers who will have to pay for the providers’ mistakes. The only groups that profit from this discriminatory legislation are the insurance companies that will be let off the hook for what they legally owe.

It is appalling that the Oregon state senate would hold up Senate Bill 1580, which could qualify Oregon for up to $2.5 billion in federal funds over the next five years, in order sacrifice the rights of poor and working class families.

I urge the Oregon state senate to protect the health, safety and rights of all Oregonians. Senate Bill 1580 is schedule for a vote today.