Medical Malpractice Caps – OPPOSE


HF161-SF148 – HSB91-SSB1133- 

This bill seeks to put caps on what a citizen can receive in the event of a serious medical error or injury, depriving them of their right to a jury trial.

Link to read the bills:

***Below the ACTION NEEDED details are some talking points and a page of links to Iowa Stats on medical malpractice.***


Email the entire House and Senate to let them know that you DO NOT SUPPORT HF161/SF148: Medical Malpractice Caps. It will be debated by both chambers this week. Individual emails are best however a group or bcc email is better than no email at all. Email your personal legislators and let them know you are a constituent by designating the town you are from. Personal stories on the impact this bill would have or have had are helpful.  Keep your email short and to the point.

Email  if you wish to formulate only one email to the entire assembly. 

For an individual list of emails, see this page:

Overall Talking Points against Medical Malpractice Caps:

Limits Iowans to what they can receive for the worst medical errors.

Violates the 7th Amendment. Why is the Iowa legislature acting as judge and jury for citizens’ cases they have no knowledge of and will not be involved with in the future? This is not the role of the legislature or the government and has been the primary argument in many lawsuits striking down caps in other states. ( Gfell 2004,Nelson 1989)

7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, then according to the rules of the common law.

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in America. Limiting their accountability will not lead to better quality care or better informed consent.

Caps will not lower healthcare costs to Iowans since insurance premiums only make up less than 1% of healthcare costs and there is no guarantee that insurance companies will pass on those savings to the providers and the providers to us.

Caps won’t improve access: Caps are not the primary reason birth centers are shutting down in rural Iowa or the primary culprit to rural Iowa healthcare access issues. If we want to solve the issue of access to healthcare in rural Iowa we need to look at increasing competition via reforming certificate of need, licensing other modalities like other states do, increasing our Medicare reimbursement rates, having serious conversations about keeping clinics open that can’t financially survive due to low need in the rural communities, or reducing/reforming other laws we currently have in place that are causing issues for these centers.

A State Level Bailout: The insurance industry has been proposing caps for years at the Federal level under the premise that they would not be able to survive with all of the medical malpractice claims, sound familiar? The federal level surprisingly has refused to impose such caps despite immense pressure by President GW Bush during his presidency, so the industry has now focused their efforts at the state level.  It is not the government’s job to save or bail out an industry. It is high time our state and federal governments stop doing that at the expense of citizen’s liberties and our tax dollars.

The following links provide excellent reference info and are mostly one-page charts and graphs to illustrate the reality of medical malpractice in Iowa.

Medical Malpractice Stats in Iowa

The links and data below were compiled from the Medical Liability Monitor and other sources related to medical malpractice.  As you will see, Iowa’s insurance rates in the various specialties are actually going DOWN, as are the number of med mal cases filed in Iowa.  Additionally, the number of Iowa physicians has INCREASED (contrary to what you have been told).

Iowa active physicians numbers on the rise:

Iowa active physician ratio on the rise:

State-By-State Ob-Gyn Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates:

State-By-State Internal Medicine Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates:

State-By-State General Surgery Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates:

State-By-State Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates Across All Specialties:

Iowa’s Average Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates Across All Specialties Compared with National Average:

Iowa files fewer medical malpractice lawsuits than almost any other state:

Iowa ranked #3 state to practice medicine, in part due to liability climate that is favorable to docs:

Overwhelming evidence shows that caps don’t impact access to health care:

Total medical malpractice costs in Iowa equal 0.071% of health care spending:

Iowa MedMal Case Filings over the last 20 years:

The Iowa Standard article written by State Senator Sandy Salmon:

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