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Medical Liability Reform Legislation Introduced in House

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Health Subcommittee member Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Congressman David Scott (D-GA), have introduced H.R. 5, “The HEALTH Act.” This legislation would provide meaningful medical liability reforms. H.R. 5 caps non-economic (“pain and suffering”) damages at $250,000; bans claims more than three years after an injury occurs; sets requirements for determining punitive damages; and makes other reforms.

An October 2009 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found that tort reform would save the federal government $54 billion over ten years.

ASA signed on to a coalition letter supporting this legislation.

Click here to read the full text of the legislation.

The members who introduced the legislation released the following statements.

Congressman Gingrey: “The HEALTH Act’s proven reforms will make medical malpractice insurance affordable again, encourage health care practitioners to maintain their practices, reduce health care costs for patients, and save billions of dollars a year in federal taxpayer dollars by reducing the need for ‘defensive medicine.’ It is an effective way to stop wasteful spending within our health care system, while ensuring better outcomes for patients.”

Congressman Scott: “Americans face many health care challenges including high annual insurance premium increases and too few doctors. Our legislation focuses on expenses that doctors face in higher medical malpractice insurance premiums and the expensive defensive medicine they practice as a hedge against liability. 

Chairman Smith: “The medical profession is plagued by frivolous lawsuits that are nothing more than the legalized extortion of doctors and hospitals.  According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 40% of malpractice suits filed in the U.S. are ‘without merit.’  These suits drive up the cost of health care for all Americans and drive many experienced medical professionals out of business.



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