Instead of concentrating on making hospitals safer and holding doctors accountable for their preventable mistakes, lawmakers are attempting to make malpractice lawsuits difficult and expensive to bring. H.R. 5, which has passed in the House, will only put the seal of approval on capping medical malpractice lawsuit damages if it passes in the Senate.
The goal of the act is: “To improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system.”
However, it is clear that lawmakers are just using medical malpractice lawsuits as an easy target and blaming such suits for the rise in healthcare costs. This act, if passed would make tort reform uniform in every state.
The act would put an artificial "cap" on malpractice lawsuit damages of $250,000—not including lost wages and medical bills, without regard to how disastrous the effect of the malpractice was on the patient and their family. Additionally, the act not only applies to physicians committing medical malrpactice, but also damages potential victims would receive from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
The effects of such tactics by Congress—to blame malpractice suits for the nations healthcare crisis—has already begun to have a negative effect. Public Citizen recently reported that malpractice lawsuit payments are at their lowest level in 20 years. The decline in payments likely correlates to states’ efforts to make malpractice suits more difficult to bring. Many states have shortened time for filing lawsuits and some have even capped medical malpractice damages already.
Taylor Lincoln, for Public Citizen, aptly stated, “Trying to stop people from being compensated for catastrophic injuries is not the answer. We should instead concentrate on making hospitals safer and disciplining doctors who repeatedly commit malpractice.”
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.