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Poll Shows Americans Support Malpractice Award Limits

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A new survey finds that many Americans want Congress to put limits on medical malpractice lawsuit awards, which are a major factor in rising medical costs.

The Associated Press poll of 1,502 adults found that 54 percent support making it more difficult for people to sue doctors and hospitals for making mistakes, 32 percent are opposed, and the remainder are undecided or don't know.

Support for limits on malpractice lawsuits was expressed by 61 percent of Republican respondents, 47 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, limits on malpractice awards could reduce the federal deficit by $54 billion over 10 years. That's because there'd be a decrease in the number of tests ordered by doctors caring for Medicare and Medicaid patients to protect themselves from lawsuits, the AP reported.

The survey found that 59 percent of respondents said they believe at least half of tests ordered by doctors are unnecessary and are prompted by fear of lawsuits.

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