On the table for discussion is a legislative proposal in Florida to cap damages of negligently injured Medicaid-insured patients. That cap would be $100k. Some headlines have labeled this as “immunity” which will protect bad doctors.

But, it’s not. Under the proposal, doctors treating Medicaid patients would be considered “agents of the state” for limited purposes. Of course, that may create a different set of challenges. But, focusing solely on the topic of professional liability, honestly, it is no different than if any patient was injured at a state university academic center in the Sunshine State. Yes, that’s any patient. State employees in Florida have sovereign immunity which already caps damages.

This proposed perk might not be enough to counterbalance the diminutive reimbursement rates. But, it’s bound to get the attention of doctors.

Some of the criticism distills to:

“Letting doctors off the hook for malpractice on Medicaid patients also might violate constitutional due process rights by creating a second class of citizens who don’t have the same rights as those who can afford health care.”

But, given the long history of sovereign immunity, and the reality that most patients at state university academic centers are not Medicaid patients, this due process argument is unlikely to get out of the starting gate.