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Senate Republicans Challenge Henry, Dem Leaders to Ignore Six-Year Moratorium on Lawsuit Reform

Demise of hospital association’s insurer underscores need for ‘real’ lawsuit reform in 2005

State Capitol, Oklahoma City – Following news that the Oklahoma Hospital Association’s medical liability insurance company has been placed in receivership, Senate Republican leaders Monday challenged Gov. Brad Henry and the Democrat legislative leadership to ignore the six-year moratorium on future lawsuit reform and allow real reform to be enacted during the next legislative session.

“The fact that a major insurer has gone belly up highlights the seriousness of the medical liability crisis in Oklahoma. It underscores the need to pass real and meaningful lawsuit reform in the next legislative session,” said Senate Republican Leader James Williamson, R-Tulsa.

“We challenge Gov. Henry and the Democrat legislative leadership to stand up to the trial lawyers and ignore the six-year moratorium on future lawsuit reform. The Legislature was not part of the moratorium agreement, so it will only be effective if Democrat leaders choose to honor the moratorium to protect their trial lawyer allies. But without meaningful lawsuit reform, the lawsuit crisis in Oklahoma will continue unabated,” stated Senate Republican Leader-elect Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

“Without real lawsuit reform in Oklahoma, how many rural hospitals and nursing homes are we going to lose? How many doctors, businesses and jobs will be endangered? How much pain will our state have to suffer before Gov. Henry and the Democrat legislative allow real lawsuit reform in Oklahoma?” Coffee queried.

“The Democrats didn’t fool anybody with HB 2661. Everyone knows it is a sham bill designed to protect the trial lawyers. Meanwhile, other states like Texas and Mississippi have taken significant steps to reign in out-of-control lawsuits. Oklahoma is being left behind because Oklahoma’s Democrat leaders have put their trial lawyer allies ahead of what is best for the people of Oklahoma,” Williamson said