Senate Republican leaders hope to introduce two new versions of medical malpractice liability legislation next week for floor action the following week. But chances of final approval remain weak, agree groups on both sides of the controversial issue.

The first week in May is “Health Week” in the Senate, and Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has said he will bring the medical malpractice bills to the floor that week along with other health-related measures. The two bills, S. 22 and S. 23, are not yet in final form, but sources close to the drafting say S. 22 — likely to be sponsored by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. — will be a comprehensive approach modeled on Texas’ medical malpractice insurance law.

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