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House GOP Passes Bill Shielding Industry In Medical Malpractice Claims

House GOP Passes Bill Shielding Industry In Medical Malpractice Claims


House Republicans passed a deeply flawed and dangerous federal medical liability bill that limits injured patient’s ability to pursue claims against negligent providers as their assault on health care reform and patient protections continue.

H.R. 5, misnamed the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, is actually a combo bill that combines restrictive medical liability legislation in the Help, Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Health Care Act and a second bill that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the portion of the Affordable Care Act created to curb Medicare spending.

The “tort reform” portion of the bill would shield nursing homes, hospitals, insurance companies, physicians, and physicians and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers from legal consequence of their negligence. This includes a cap on non-economic damages at $250,000, giving medical device manufacturers and drug companies immunity from punitive damages.

“In blocking patients from seeking compensation from negligent parties that injure them, this bill will force them to turn to taxpayers for aid,” said Christine Hines, consumer and civil justice counsel with Public Citizen. “If Congress was truly interested in enacting cost-saving measures, it would focus on reducing the thousands of injuries and deaths each year caused by preventable medical errors, which a government report said adds billions of dollars per year to the cost of U.S. health care.”

The bill also drastically shortening the time a patient has to file a lawsuit for their injuries and limiting fees for patients’ attorneys while providing no limits on the health industry’s legal fees.

Medical malpractice claims are complicated to prosecute and usually require the help of medical experts to prove liability. Limiting attorneys fees for plaintiffs attorneys while letting industry defense attorneys the ability to bill with abandon simply means fewer attorneys will be able to help injured parties.

And that’s precisely the point.

Of course, Republicans pushed these restrictions as ways to cut costs and create jobs. And of course they are wrong.

As health care costs rose over the past decade, medical malpractice litigation and costs associated dropped to their lowest levels on record. Meanwhile though, the number of patients injured by medical errors remained at an unacceptable level. An April 2011 study showed that medical errors or adverse events occur in nearly one in three hospital admissions.

Instead of dealing with these realities though House Republicans have decided to take away the ability of injured parties to hold industry responsible.

Sounds a lot like their approach to Wall Street “reform”, doesn’t it?


Related Stories:

Corporate Cash Pushing For Weaker Medical Device Oversight

ALEC Makes Another Push For Tort Reform


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Photo from srqpix via flickr.

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7:12AM PST on Feb 8, 2013

Doctor's should NOT be protected by each other and or liability issues. They can so very easily kill people and often forget their FIRST, DO NO HARM!!! Truly sad! Thanks for article!

3:06PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

voted they need to have either themselves or a member of their family need medical care for the rest of their lives and lets see them do it with 250 thousand dollars.

1:36PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

The GOP has no shame when it comes to protecting their corporate sponsors against the interests of the people. Vote them out in November!

1:24PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

This is a license for all those "death squads" against which the GOP is constantly beating their drums... Settlement should be commensurate with the amount of harm inflicted on the patient and the family. And this can be determined only by (1) a bonafide judicial settlement conference, or (2) a jury. We cannot allow them to take this right away from us.

8:49AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Closing ranks and covering each others backs, business as usual, then!

7:04PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

195,000 Americans, per year, die from medical errors in the hospital. I bet everyone of them has an ungrateful family that files a frivolous lawsuit against the "For Profit" Healthcare Scam Industry. Oh, the frivolity!

6:26PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Grazie di queste notizie.

6:12PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Cut costs and create jobs, my butt. This is just one more example of how out of touch Republicans are with the average American. They are interested only in protecting themselves and the other wealthy Americans they represent. They do NOT represent anyone but those in the upper echelon's of income. Where is their bill to protect workers from unsafe working conditions, to protect all of us from unsafe air, water and food? We hear nothing from them except crap like this protect the rich from their incompetence and put women back a 150 years. How they EVER got a majority is beyond me. That they'll keep it can't be possible. Just a few more months of these fools is all we have to bear, I hope!

5:50PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

USE your VOICE or LOSE your VOICE so your (children)daughter's have a VOICE and FREEDOM of CHOICE!


Again, you need to know what kind of CARE you or your family member need's. Know all MEDICATION'S including how they are to be given RIGHT PERSON---RIGHT MEDICATION-RIGHT DOSE----RIGHT ROUTE of ADMINISTRATION (orally by mouth or on skin -- shot's)RIGHT TIME.

REPUBLICAN'S are going to CREATE more JOBS that's for sure because of all the NEGLECT that will INCREASE X 10 if they are allowed to make these CUT'S. Put's not only the PATIENT at RISK but also the WORKER.

Some Nursing Homes that are understaffed like over 100 patient's per NURSE will give double dose's of the same MEDICATION like say CARDURA which is a HEART medication taken at 4pm and again at 9:00pm not a good IDEA to DOUBLE up but I've heard of NURSE'S doing it. I NEVER have witnessed PATIENT ABUSE or NEGLECT nor have I ever DOUBLED up on MEDICATION that's DANGEROUS and against the LAW some of my NURSING friend's have witnessed such ERROR'S and REPORTED it to the State immediately.

Look up Nursing Homes and Hospitals in your area check how many times they have been FLAGGED and why they were RED FLAGGED was it to to POOR care res

5:39PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Just MORE PROOF that the GOP cares NOTHING for the people they are supposed to serve and they care ONLY about corporate puppeteer interests.

Congress, and to a lesser degree, the Senate, need desperately to be purged.

We need elected officials that actually care about the people that they are sworn to serve and are dedicated to that position.

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