I was able to find two bills being considered in the Senate.
Bills S.243 MCAP Act & S.244 Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Access to Care Act were referred to committees in early January 2007. Both bills contain identical text for the SEC. 5. Compensating Patient Injury. Notice that noneconomic damages are limited to $500,000 in total. If that sounds fair to you, you must read Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!, in order to reconsider and to better understand the implications of this limit. Also notice in (c) that the jury should not be informed of the maximum award allowed. So the damages can be reduced behind the scenes? So maybe the jurors and the people in the courtroom think that the individual received an honest and fitting award amount? It sounds pretty underhanded to me. Here is the text for SEC. 5. Compensating Patient Injury: You can view all Bill text by entering the Word / Phrase: Compensating Patient Injury in the search box at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/LegislativeData.php?n=BillText
(b) Additional Noneconomic Damages-
(1) HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS- In any health care lawsuit where final judgment is rendered against a health care provider, the amount of noneconomic damages recovered from the provider, if otherwise available under applicable Federal or State law, may be as much as $250,000, regardless of the number of parties other than a health care institution against whom the action is brought or the number of separate claims or actions brought with respect to the same occurrence..
(2) HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS-
(A) SINGLE INSTITUTION- In any health care lawsuit where final judgment is rendered against a single health care institution, the amount of noneconomic damages recovered from the institution, if otherwise available under applicable Federal or State law, may be as much as $250,000, regardless of the number of parties against whom the action is brought or the number of separate claims or actions brought with respect to the same occurrence.
(B) MULTIPLE INSTITUTIONS- In any health care lawsuit where final judgment is rendered against more than one health care institution, the amount of noneconomic damages recovered from each institution, if otherwise available under applicable Federal or State law, may be as much as $250,000, regardless of the number of parties against whom the action is brought or the number of separate claims or actions brought with respect to the same occurrence, except that the total amount recovered from all such institutions in such lawsuit shall not exceed $500,000.
(c) No Discount of Award for Noneconomic Damages- In any health care lawsuit, an award for future noneconomic damages shall not be discounted to present value. The jury shall not be informed about the maximum award for noneconomic damages under subsection (b). An award for noneconomic damages in excess of the limitations provided for in subsection (b) shall be reduced either before the entry of judgment, or by amendment of the judgment after entry of judgment, and such reduction shall be made before accounting for any other reduction in damages required by law. If separate awards are rendered for past and future noneconomic damages and the combined awards exceed the limitations provided for in subsection (b), the future noneconomic damages shall be reduced first.
(d) Fair Share Rule- In any health care lawsuit, each party shall be liable for that party's several share of any damages only and not for the share of any other person. Each party shall be liable only for the amount of damages allocated to such party in direct proportion to such party's percentage of responsibility. A separate judgment shall be rendered against each such party for the amount allocated to such party. For purposes of this section, the trier of fact shall determine the proportion of responsibility of each party for the claimant's harm.
I also found a bill called 'Asbestos Compensation Fairness Act of 2005'. It limits noneconomic damages to $250,000 unless the claim is based upon mesothelioma, then noneconomic loss shall not exceed $500,000. On 4/28/2005, this bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. I just don't know if the 110th Congress will come up with a new (similar) bill.
This type of "Tort Reform" was started in Texas by a small group of wealthy and politically influential businessmen called Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR). In 1994, TLR launched their tactical maneuvers by investing $300,000 in three senate campaigns; and won. The new senators, who TLR helped to elect, gave Republicans their first majority in the state Senate in more than a century. - Special-interest groups were on their way to gaining unprecedented control of the Legislature.
In 2003, there was a "battle" in the Texas House of Representatives over key tort-reform legislation. Democrats pleaded for exceptions to the cap on noneconomic damages of $250,000 for say, a child, or a disabled or elderly person. Nevertheless, Republicans were now in total control of the legislative process; and they refused to give any concessions. During this two-week marathon, the TLR principals remained a constant presence in a corner of the House gallery ("The Owners' Box") making sure their venal Representatives held out for every one of TLR's wishes.
TLR was also generous with their campaign contributions to candidates in Judicial and Executive races. By the time George W. Bush was re-elected in 1998, TLR and similar groups had donated more than $4 million to his two campaigns.
Now powerful forces, like TLR, may be influencing our Federal government. Thankfully, "Medical Liability Reform" bills, such as the above-mentioned, have not found enough favor in the Senate to get passed, yet. It will take many, many of us to ensure that they don't. This is your call to action; please take a stand. See how YOU can help - at no cost, and tell your friends!
Our Nation Needs Your Help.