Could Future Medical Malpractice Damages be Limited?

Last week doctors urged Congress to reduce the federal deficit by limiting medical malpractice lawsuits.  Almost 100 medical groups, including the American Medical Association, urged the Congressional committee to help reduce the nation’s deficit.  The AMA estimates that limits on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits could save taxpayers more than $62 billion over the next decade.

There is some criticism about the AMA’s estimate and whether it is accurate.  Additionally, there is concern about the individual medical malpractice victims and their families.  Should they suffer and be denied damages for the negligence of their doctors? Should a medical malpractice victim have to suffer the consequences of malpractice while victims of other types of malpractice do not?

Additionally, a preset legal limit on the recovery of medical malpractice damages may face a constitutional challenge.  The 7th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and many state constitutions, provide people with the right to a jury trial for civil lawsuits.  That may mean that a jury, not Congress, gets to decide medical malpractice damages.

What do you think? Is limiting medical malpractice damages constitutional and good for the country or potentially unconstitutional and unfair to individual malpractice victims?