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Medical Malpractice Legislation Dies In Senate

A Senate bill to reform Indiana's medical malpractice law died Monday after talks broke down between all the groups involved.

The bill's author, Brent Steele (R- 44th District), said he thought an agreement was reached as recently as last week, but that communication between hospitals, trial lawyers and doctors quickly became convoluted.

"You and I can both be sitting at a table, and I'm saying something and you're saying something, and we think we're on the same page until you see it in black and white and then you say, 'Well that's really not what I thought it was,'" Steele says.

Steele declined to fill in the details of negotiations because he said he was worried it might damage future talks.

The bill would raise the amount someone can collect for a single malpractice incident. Many question the constitutionality of Indiana's cap, at $1.25 million, because it hasn't been raised since it was set in 1999.

"And I don't know if it's next session or the session after that, but everybody knows that the clock is ticking," Steele says.

When lawmakers investigated the issue last September, an Indiana State Medical Association lobbyist argued raising the cap would drive up costs for doctors.

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