Posted on 13 May 2011
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care (HEALTH) Act, by a vote of 30 to 20, that would reform medical malpractice law.
The HEALTH Act, authored by Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA), addresses the high cost of health care by reforming the current medical liability system. The current system places a $210 billion burden on our nation’s health system each year. In addition to the savings for patients and doctors, the Congressional Budget Office estimates comprehensive medical liability reforms, such as those included in H.R. 5, could reduce the federal deficit by $62 billion over ten years.
The legislation would limit noneconomic damages in medical malpractice awards to $250,000. It also would limit punitive damages in medical malpractice awards to twice the economic damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.
The bill would also set up a sliding scale for attorney contingency fees and permit the introduction of evidence of collateral-source benefits, such as Medicare or Medicaid, in malpractice cases to prevent double recovery.