Future for House Med Mal Bill Looks Bleak in Senate

Side Note: To our disappointment, the bipartisan House bill, Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act, which would provide significant, sweeping med mal reform, is not likely to be passed in the Senate. If you follow med mal reform, you know that this is nothing new. The bill, which has been introduced and passed regularly in the House since 2002, has yet to make it through the Senate. This is because, traditionally, Congressional Democrats oppose caps on non-economic damages. (They feel that this intrudes on the jury system.) And, the bill provides other strong reforms, including replacing “joint-and-several” liability, which holds the defendant liable for all damages, with “…a fair-share rule that sets damages for a defendant in proportion to his or her share of responsibility for the injury.” This seems logical to us. Also, this med mal bill would allow juries to take into consideration workers compensation payments, and other benefits, and to subtract them from awards. Again, this seems logical to us. But, because of its broad nature and major changes, and the past legislative action that we have seen, we just don’t see Democrats going for this bill.

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From Medscape Medical News
Tough Tort-Reform Bill in House Faces Challenges in Senate
Robert Lowes

January 25, 2011 — Organized medicine is applauding a tough tort reform bill introduced in the House yesterday that would cap noneconomic damages in malpractice cases at $250,000, but the measure could face challenges in the Senate.

See entire article.