Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) called for "real, meaningful medical malpractice reform" in his State of the State speech yesterday, though he didn't provide much in the way of detail, so doctors remain skeptical. The governor didn't refer to caps one way or the other. The Illinois Supreme Court has repeatedly held them unconstitutional, and lawmakers are generally divided on partisan lines on the subject, though some Democrats remain open to some form of cap; see Senate Bill 150. Republican lawmakers are also considering creating special malpractice courts in Senate Bill 151. (Matt Adrian, "Speech long on plans, short on detail", Decatur Herald & Review, Feb. 4; Caleb Hale, "Governor Makes A Renewed Call For Medical Malpractice Reform", The Southern, Feb. 4; "Governor's address calls for medical liability reform", Madison County Record, Feb. 4; William Lamb, "Special malpractice courts are sought", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 3; Steve Whitworth, "New bills �will keep doctors in Illinois�", Alton Telegraph, Feb. 3; Kate Thayer, "GOP renews call for malpractice caps", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 1). Chicago Tribune coverage featured a half-sentence.
One interesting aspect of Senate Bill 150 is its efforts to address criticism that non-economic damages caps result in too-low awards for the poor and for housewives; a jury is allowed to award "economic damages" to a plaintiff equal to the average wage in the county.