While President Obama’s State of the Union address was inspiring and thought-provoking, one statement brought concern. President Obama indicated his support for some type of federal law limiting medical malpractice lawsuits. Shortly thereafter, the House Republicans introduced H.R. 5, which contains a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages and stringent limits on attorneys’ fees. The bill indicates that it would not only apply to medical malpractice claims, but also to drug and device cases, nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits, and claims against the insurance industry. Plus, the bill preempts state laws that provide additional protection to patients.
How disappointing that both the President and the sponsors of the bill have targeted this sector of the civil justice system. The bill is drawing opposition from the right side too – Tea Party advocates have stated that the bill provides a “marker for the differences between the too-business-friendly Republican establishment who dominate Washington and the Tea Party-oriented, limited-government Americans of all parties.” This medical malpractice limiting bill does nothing to stop medical malpractice, which kills up to 100,000 Americans annually and personally injures up to ten times that number. This bill does not act to improve hospital hygiene, medical records technology, or other medical practice. Medical malpractice lawsuits cannot exist if there is little or no medical malpractice. Can’t we work towards improving medical treatment?
As the Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti have stated before, medical malpractice “tort reform” really helps insurance companies. While lawsuit settlement and verdict costs have decreased in the recent years, insurance companies have continued to increase premium costs and have recorded record high profits in the recent years. It is obvious who these bills are really intended to protect – insurance companies’ profits.
Visit the 7th Amendment Advocate blog to read more about opposition to the medical malpractice lawsuit limiting bill.