Most notable among the opponents was Joe Knott, former Republican candidate for NC Attorney General. Emphasizing that he teaches the Bible and is a conservative, Knott labeled the medical lawsuit reform proposal “un-American” and “immoral.”
Among the supporters of SB 33 was Sammy Thompson, a medical malpractice defense lawyer with the Smith Anderson law firm in Raleigh. Mr. Thompson, representing the NC Medical Society, went through the bill systematically and explained the fundamental problems the bill seeks to address and the expected benefits of each section. Also among supporters was Lew Ebert, CEO of the NC Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Ebert discussed the burden of our litigation system on small business, and the need for SB 33 to stimulate job growth and improve the economic environment in North Carolina.
Two physicians spoke in favor of the bill. Greg Cannon, MD, an Emergency Physician from Wake County talked about the dynamics of emergency care from a physician’s perspective and explained the need to address the excessive liability risks associated with medical emergencies. Don Bradley, MD, medical director for BCBSNC, emphasized the beneficial effect the proposal would have on defensive medicine costs.
The Committee is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, February 24, 2011. Sen. Pete Brunstetter (R, Forsyth), Chairman of Senate Judiciary 1, announced that Senators will have a chance to question those professionals that represent interested groups at the next meeting. The NCMS will be ready to address concerns that have been brought to our attention over the past week. A recommendation vote is possible next Tuesday.
Click here for talking points on SB 33 – Medical Liability Reforms.
To follow the progress of the bill, click here.