Alexander Cosponsors Bills to Provide Tennessee Mothers, Babies Greater Access to Prenatal Care

Posted on May 5, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made the following statement today announcing his cosponsorship of two medical liability reform bills – the Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Access to Care Act (S. 23), which protects access to care for mothers and babies by providing medical liability reform for obstetric and gynecological care; and the Medical Care Access Protection Act of 2006 (S. 22), a comprehensive medical liability reform bill: “This is about taking care of Tennessee’s women and children. In 45 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, pregnant mothers have to drive for miles to get prenatal healthcare and to deliver their babies. In 15 of those counties, pregnant mothers have no access to any prenatal care whatsoever. That is unacceptable, and that is why I have cosponsored the Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Access to Care Act. “I have also cosponsored a comprehensive medical liability reform bill to help ensure that Tennesseans have access to the doctors and high quality healthcare they deserve. “Earlier this year, Tennessee was declared a medical liability ‘Crisis State’ by the American Medical Association, joining 20 other states where broken medical liability systems are jeopardizing access to healthcare. According to the Tennessee Medical Association, defensive medicine – that is, the extra tests and procedures performed by doctors to protect them from lawsuits – may add as much as $2 billion to health care costs for Tennesseans. That's almost $1,000 per household. “We can look to the state of Texas for an example of what works. After Texas passed statewide medical liability reform in 2003, medical malpractice rates decreased, access to care has been increasing, new doctors are moving to Texas, current doctors are staying in Texas, and new insurers are entering the Texas medical liability market, creating more choices for physicians. “Our Senate bills are modeled after the Texas law, and I hope to see this success story spread to Tennessee and nationwide.”