Philadelphia-based doctors group weigh in on Obama health plan

The American College of Physicians, a Philadelphia-based organization representing 129,000 doctors and medical students across the nation, said President Obama’s proposed health care bill “has many of the key policies needed to make health insurance coverage available to all Americans, to ensure that patients have access to a primary care physician of their choice, and to reform payment and delivery systems to achieve better value.”

Specifically, the group said it supports the elements of the proposal that seek to make affordable health coverage available to most people and to boost payments for primary care doctors.

But the group wanted more changes to limit and change the way medical malpractice suits are handled. The college said the legislation should provide states with incentives to try alternatives to the current civil lawsuit system, including health courts and safe harbors for the practice of based on best methods – so-called evidence-based medicine.

The group also said the legislation should “include proven liability reforms like those enacted in California and Texas.” In other words, the legislation should put caps on malpractice awards for pain and suffering and other “non-economic” damages. That is an approach that is sure to draw strong opposition from trail lawyers, traditionally strong supporters of Democrats.

Here are the details of the college's response to the President's proposal that was posted on the White House website on Monday.