NAELA PUBLIC POLICY GUIDELINES

TORT REFORM

A. NAELA opposes any linkage between tort reform and Medicare/Medicaid because of its potentially devastating impact on poor seniors or individuals with disabilities.

B. NAELA opposes tort reform that fails to provide adequate compensation for victims. NAELA opposes caps on punitive and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, since such caps have a discriminatory impact on persons with chronic illnesses needing long-term care and on women and children.

C. NAELA supports the availability of punitive damage awards in limited cases. The basic standard to establish punitive damages should be a conscious or deliberate disregard of a defendant’s obligations, and the standard of proof should be “clear and convincing.” The principal responsibility to control excessive awards for punitive damages rests on the courts.

D. NAELA supports greater regulatory oversight of the insurance industry to remedy periodic malpractice insurance cycles that cause unreasonably high jumps in malpractice insurance and reduced access to coverage for health care providers and facilities. Specifically, NAELA calls upon insurance carriers, which provide professional liability insurance for physicians and other health care providers, to disclose to appropriate state regulatory agencies detailed information relating to their (1) costs for providing such insurance, (2) malpractice claims experience, and (3) amounts provided in payment of malpractice claims, lawsuits and settlements. NAELA further calls upon states to make such information available to the public and to specify the conditions under which the data provided by insurance carriers will be accessible to the public.

E. NAELA opposes federal legislation that would change the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure without going through the process set forth in the Rules Enabling Act. NAELA fully supports the Rules Enabling Act process, which contemplates that evidentiary and procedural rules will in the first instance be considered and drafted by committees of the United States Judicial Conference, next subjected to thorough public comment and reconsideration, and then submitted to the United States Supreme Court for consideration and promulgation, and finally transmitted to Congress which retains the power to veto any rule before it takes effect.

Resolutions adopted by the NAELA Board of Directors November 17, 1991
Revised November 11, 2004 and June 29, 2007
Posted March 2013