Reynolds Signs Medical Malpractice Caps Into Law

Des Moines, Iowa — A state law is now in effect to limit medical malpractice claims for non-economic or so-called “pain and suffering” damages.

Governor Kim Reynolds was surrounded by a large crowd yesterday (Thursday) as she held a bill signing ceremony in her statehouse office.

The law took effect as soon as the governor signed it. There is no limit on the coverage for medical expenses or economic losses caused by medical errors, but pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases are now capped at two million dollars for hospitals and one million dollars for all other healthcare providers. Starting in 2028, those caps will increase by an annual inflation factor of just over two percent.

Former Governor Terry Branstad started pushing for medical malpractice caps more than a decade ago. Reynolds made it one of her priority issues for the 2023 Iowa Legislature.

Kevin Kincaid, the CEO of Knoxville Hospitals and Clinics, says the law has been a priority for hospitals.

Democrats and 16 Republicans in the legislature voted against the law, arguing it was unfair to place a dollar value on when a person’s life is dramatically changed or ended due to a medical error. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says there’s no evidence the healthcare workforce issues Iowa faces are any better in states with medical malpractice caps.

Konfrst says the caps benefit the insurance industry, with no guarantee medical malpractice insurance rates for doctors and hospitals will be controlled.

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