ATLA celebrates defeat of legislation that would have limited non-economic damages in health care liability suits.

WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist expressed his shock that the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) cheered efforts by Senate Democrats to block debate and passage of S.11, the Patients First Act of 2003 as necessary Medical Malpractice Reform.

For years health care providers have faced difficulty obtaining affordable medical liability coverage. The problem has now reached a crisis level and patients are being deprived access to crucial medical care as hospitals while physicians find it increasingly difficult to continue offering certain services. According to some insurers, Medical malpractice insurance premium have increased as much as 81 percent over the last two years, according to some insurers.

"Senate Democrats appear more interested in protecting trial lawyers than patients," said Grover Norquist, President of ATR. "Rapidly increasing medical malpractice awards are driving up malpractice insurance premiums and fueling the rapid growth in healthcare costs. These cost increases are caused by an overly expensive litigation system."

According to an article published on, in her farewell speech, former ATLA President Mary Alexander said she "will be thanking everyone for a job well done in defeating this medical malpractice bill."

"Medical liability reform is one of the most important issues that we face in the United States," said Norquist. "Currently hospitals are closing their doors, doctors are refusing to see new patients, and, in some cases, doctors are being forced to leave for other states. It is unfortunate that Ms. Alexander would celebrate the defeat of legislation that compensates deserving plaintiffs adequately, so that she and her trial lawyer friends can buy another yacht."