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Iowa OKs bill capping payouts in medical malpractice suits

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has passed a bill that would cap payouts to patients in some medical malpractice lawsuits.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 37-12 Monday with bipartisan support to approve the legislation. The House passed it earlier this month and it now heads to GOP Gov. Terry Branstad.

The bill would limit pain and suffering payouts at $250,000 in most cases of medical malpractice. The cap can be exceeded if a jury finds an individual suffered substantial impairment to bodily function, substantial disfigurement or death.

The legislation also creates standards for expert witnesses testifying in such cases.

Medical malpractice victims have criticized the bill, calling it an unconstitutional abuse of power by the Legislature, while supporters say lower medical liability premiums would make Iowa appealing for physicians.

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