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AAFP Voices Support for Medical Liability Reform Legislation
By News Staff
Gingrey's bill, H.R. 5, which is known as the Help Efficient Accessible Low-cost Timely Healthcare, or HEALTH, Act of 2011, is based on California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act. It is similar to medical liability legislation introduced in the House and supported by the AAFP in the past. Among other things, the bill would cap noneconomic damages at $250,000 per case and ensure that physicians are liable only for the portion of a procedure in which they are at fault. The measure also would limit the number of years a plaintiff has to file a legal claim against physicians and other health care professionals.
Obama Pledges Support for Medical Liability Reform During Annual Address
According to a fact sheet issued by the White House shortly before the president delivered his address, Obama has pledged to work with Republicans and build on efforts already under way to assess what works in medical malpractice reform.
"The AAFP is pleased that, in his State of the Union address, President Obama pointed to medical liability reform as a mechanism to bring down health care costs," said AAFP President Roland Goertz, M.D., M.B.A., of Waco, Texas.
Gingrey, an OB-Gyn and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been involved in efforts to reform the nation's medical liability system since 2006. He introduced the HEALTH Act with Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chair of the House Judiciary Committee -- where the legislation will be debated -- and Rep. David Scott, D-Ga.
The House has passed similar bills in the past, but the legislation has always died in the Senate.
"It is time for Congress to enact meaningful medical liability reform legislation to repair the current litigious climate that continues to increase health care costs and compromise access to care," says the letter.
Health Care Reform Law Fails to Provide Remedies for Medical Malpractice
MedPAC Reviews Medical Malpractice Reforms
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Policy on Professional Medical Liability
AMA news release: "HEALTH Act, Introduced Today, Would Help Resolve the Medical Liability Crisis, Protect Patients' Access to Care"
(Jan. 24, 2011)