Doctor's Strike

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Doctors across Illinois prepare for a one-day strike to protest the cost of skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums.

The one-day strike is scheduled to take place in Springfield Wednesday. Local doctors say they support idea and recognize the severity of the issue but don't think patients should suffer to get their message across.

Rockford doctors stand together in support of caps for non-economic damage awards. They say the caps will rein in out of control malpractice insurance rates that patients could end up paying for in the end. As doctors choose to leave the state or opt not to perform risky procedures.

"I mean does one million dollars or eighty million dollars make your pain go away? It does perhaps deprive people of needed healthcare," said Dr. William Kobler, President Elect of Winnebago County Medical Society.

In a state like California where caps are in place, neurosurgeons pay $68,000 for malpractice insurance. In Winnebago County the same surgeon pays $142,000. Despite these concerns, the Winnebago County and Illinois Medical Society will not participate in Wednesday's doctor's strike.

"We cannot imagine because our patients come on the bus or have a difficult time getting to the doctors or getting off of work. They don't have a lot of money. Not being there for them when they come to see us," said Dr. Michael Anderson, Crusader Clinic.

Area doctors say instead they'll find their battles through public awareness and focus on a national level

There is a bill in congress that calls for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards for things like pain and suffering. A measure that has the support of President Bush. Under the legislation patients injured through medical negligence would continue to get full compensation for economic losses.


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