Steve Levin of Levin & Perconti, a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, recently spoke out against H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely, Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2011. The HEALTH Care Act was recently introduced in the United States House of Representatives and approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is a reincarnation of the HEALTH Act of 2005, which never became a law. Illinois medical malpractice lawyer Steve Levin opposes the bill and points out that the bill threatens patient safety. H.R. 5 proposes a cap (or limit) on noneconomic damages for victims of medical negligence at $250,000, taking aim at patients’ rights. It further aims to reduce the period time in which victims of medical malpractice have to file a claim from two years to only one year after the injury is discovered. Mr. Levin proposes an alternative to the bill, stating that Congress should instead turn its attention to decreasing preventable medical errors.
Statistics of medical malpractice show that these proposed changes will truly hurt victims. According to the Institute of Medicine, over 98,000 people die every year due to medical errors. Chicago medical malpractice errors are often preventable and costly. Reducing the medical malpractice errors would lower health care spending. Rather than denying patients full access to the courts to gain justice, Mr. Levin stated that Congress should focus on new approaches to prevent medical malpractice from occurring in the first place. Mr. Levin addressed that medical malpractice lawsuits allow victims to hold physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies responsible for their mistakes. Damages motivate health care providers to improve patient care to avoid being sued again.
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