Whitmer vetoes bill that would've made hospitals immune to lawsuits during the pandemic

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 17:26:20-04

LANSING (WXYZ) — On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a controversial Senate bill which would've made hospitals and doctors, in many instances, immune to lawsuits during the pandemic.

RELATED: Michigan lawmakers want to make hospitals, doctors immune from lawsuits during pandemic

Whitmer's office said that the bill was "an overbroad attempt to fix a problem created by the Republican-led legislature's refusal to acknowledge the state of emergency created by COVID-19 in Michigan."

The 7 Investigators first reported on the legislation back in May, as lawmakers were debating whether to give doctors and hospitals broad immunity.

“We are simply providing certainty that some of our health care professionals have been asking for,” said Kim Wadaga, a staff member who works for State Senator Michael MacDonald.

MacDonald, who is from Macomb County, sponsored the bill.

“Republicans in the legislature refuse to acknowledge that Michigan, along with all fifty state and the federal government, are in a state of emergency and continue to try to block our efforts to address the pandemic," Whitmer said. "I previously extended special liability protections for certain health care providers during the first peak of COVID-19 to ensure that hospitals did not become overwhelmed, preserving their ability to provide care. Senate Bill 899 would endanger patients and workers unnecessarily, making it nearly impossible to obtain relief from injury during a state of emergency. As always, I will continue to work together with the legislature to protect Michiganders and their families during this crisis.”

According to the Emergency Management Act, limited immunity from lawsuits is possible but only upon an official request. Senate Bill 899 would've made that immunity automatic.

Read veto letter here.

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