A Maryland lawmaker wants “bad drivers” to help the state
cut medical malpractice insurance costs.
State Sen. Rob Garagiola is considering reintroducing his
Driver Responsibility Act if a special session is convened on the malpractice
Legislators are discussing a possible special session this
fall to address how doctors would deal with a request by Medical Mutual, the state’s largest malpractice insurer,
to increase medical malpractice fees 41 percent beginning Jan. 1.
Garagiola, D-Montgomery, introduced a bill this past session
that would fine drivers for accumulating six or more points in a three-year
period. The increased revenue would be used to underwrite increased malpractice
costs for area doctors.
The bill is modeled after a similar system in New Jersey,
which imposes bad driving surcharges and in 2003 raised $134 million for the
state, the Capital News Service reported.
In Garagiola’s measure,
drivers would be charged $100 for their sixth point in three years and $25 for
every point above that. Drunken-driving convictions would draw a $1,000 fine.
Second and third offenses would cost $1,500 and $2,500.
When first introduced, the bill – SB900 – called for 25
percent of the funds to go toward the Medicaid program and 75 percent to the
state’s general fund, which would include transportation. It remained in
committee when the regular legislative session ended in April.
The special session version of the bill would devote all
funds to underwriting doctor’s premiums, Garagiola said.
If lawmakers fail to meet before the end of the year,
Garagiola said he would reintroduce the bill when senators head back to the
Capitol in January.