Senator Supports Non-Senatorial-Wife-Damage-Cap Legislation

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Senator Rick Santorum has called medical lawsuit abuse the "number one health care crisis in his state (Pennsylvania), and has repeatedly called for caps on damages for pain and suffering. He has twice sponsored legislation that would have capped such damages at $250,000. Demands for more than that would evidently constitute medical lawsuit abuse.

But according to an ABC News report, in 1999 Santorum testified in support of his wife’s malpractice claim against a chiropractor, which sought almost $500,000 for pain and suffering. The medical bills resulting from the alleged negligence were only $18,800. Santorum testified, among other things, that after his wife’s injury he had to carry the laundry upstairs for her, and that she had lost the confidence necessary to help him on the campaign trail because she gained weight from inactivity. The jury awarded them $350,000.

Santorum told ABC’s "Primetime" show, after they snuck up on him at a book signing, that he had two explanations for the alleged inconsistency. First, he said that while he’s supported caps in general, "I’ve been very clear that I am not wedded at all to a $250,000 cap [although that was the figure in the litigation he sponsored] . . . and that we need to look at what I think is a cap that is a little bit higher than that." How about, say, $331,200? That sound about right?

Second, his wife made him do it. "Of course I’m going to support my wife in her endeavors," he said. "That doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with everything she does."