June 25, 2003
Source: The Office of Representative Doug Wiles
Dear Speaker Byrd and President King:
It has become painfully obvious that Governor Jeb Bush is going to continue to call the Legislature back in session all summer long to debate the Medical Malpractice issue, even if there is no agreement between the House and Senate on how we should best address the growing needs of patients and their doctors. As we stand here on the eighty-fifth day of the 2003 Session, the Governor’s political brinksmanship will only ensure that our state’s pressing health care needs will go unresolved.
With that being said, I once again renew my call for the creation of a Joint House/Senate Select Committee on Medical Malpractice and that this committee be given the authority to begin meeting, gathering information, taking testimony, and developing consensus on this critical issue. I would also propose that this committee be given the authority to require paid interests to testify under oath and be subject to the subpoena of records, as suggested by Senator Geller. It is about time that we force paid lobbyists to shoot straight with this Legislature.
With the creation of this committee, we can set forth a workable timeframe to ensure that we come to some solution by the end of the summer. In my opinion, this proposal is more likely to bring effective closure to this contentious issue than wasting millions on unnecessary and costly special sessions; sessions, which I fear, are only good for tax-payer funded member fundraising. It will also ensure that negotiations between members will take place in the open and allow the public to have input into this process.
Florida House Democrats recognize that patient health care is being compromised by insurance companies that are stiffing doctors with unreasonable medical malpractice premiums. This is a real problem begging a real solution, not more political posturing. It is critical that we roll-up our sleeves, work together and get this issue resolved. I look forward to working with you.
House Democratic Leader
Cc: Governor Jeb Bush
Sen. Dennis Jones, Senate Republican Leader
Sen. Ron Klein, Senate Democratic Leader
Rep. Marco Rubio, House Republican Leader