House Passes Medical Malpractice Reform Bill
July 07, 2017
Just before the July 4 Congressional recess, the House passed an HR Policy-supported bill (H.R. 1215) that caps plaintiff damages in medical malpractice lawsuits at $250,000, while allowing an injured party to receive full compensation for measurable, economic harm such as medical expenses or lost wages that they have incurred. The House passed the Protecting Access to Care Act by a vote of 218 to 210, with 19 Republicans opposing the measure for a variety of reasons. Specifically, the bill would:
- Cap noneconomic damage awards at $250,000 and set sliding-scale limits on the contingency fees that lawyers can charge;
- Create a safe harbor from product liability litigation for health care providers who prescribe or dispense FDA approved products;
- Establish a three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, with certain exceptions, from the date of an injury; and
- Create a fair-share rule, under which a defendant would be liable only for the percentage of the final award that was equal to his or her share of responsibility for the injury.
Over the 2017-2027 period, CBO estimates it would reduce federal health care spending by about $44 billion and National Health Care expenditures, including employer health care costs, by 0.4% per year.