Poll: Majority supports special courts for malpractice suits

Large majorities of U.S. voters believe medical malpractice lawsuits are driving away good doctors, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Common Good, says 75 percent of those polled believe malpractice suits are contributing to the high cost of insurance and medical care.

Republicans have made malpractice reform a central tenet of their healthcare platform, but trial lawyers and many Democrats say the GOP's proposed approach would do little to control the actual effect on healthcare costs.

Republicans want to cap damages in malpractice suits at $250,000. President Obama, on the other hand, has endorsed a system in which doctors would be shielded from suits if they adhere to the best practices for their specialty, but they could be sued if they do not follow those standards.

The Common Good poll asked about a third option — creating special "health courts" to hear medical malpractice suits. Sixty-six percent of those polled said they would support health courts, including more than two-thirds of both Democratic and Republican respondents.