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Blagojevich signs medical malpractice law

Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich signs medical malpractice reform at St. Anthony's Hospital in Alton on Thursday.(UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

Alton, Ill. – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Thursday visited an Alton hospital to sign a new medical malpractice law aimed at keeping doctors from leaving the state.

Among other things, the measure caps pain and suffering awards against doctors at $500,000, and $1 million for hospitals.

Blagojevich says he does not agree with that part of the law. But he says the measure as a whole is vital for Illinois' health care industry.

"This bill is not a perfect bill," Blagojevich said. "There are parts of this bill that I've consistently opposed, like caps on non-economic damages. But I will not allow that personal position to stand in the way of what I believe will lead to the reduction of insurance premiums that doctors have to pay."

The new law also requires more oversight of the insurance industry and the internet posting of doctors' litigation histories.

Critics of the measure say it will hurt victims of medical malpractice and do nothing to lower insurance costs.

Amber Hard is with the Center for Justice and Democracy, which opposes the law.

"It doesn't bring down the cost of health care," Hard said. "It doesn't lure doctors back into Illinois. The only effect of these caps that can be documented is that it devastates the victims- innocent people who've been hurt by negligent medical care."


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