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H.R. 5 Tort Reform Proposal Attacked By Advocates At Hearing

Yesterday we discussed the testimony provided by advocates for medical malpractice victims at last week’s hearing on the bill known as House Resolution 5 (H.R. 5). We continue that discussion with additional overview of the analysis outlined in the Legal Times Blog.

We previously mentioned the advocacy of one member of the subcommittee in question, Representative Harry Waxman. Besides noting the dubious connection between tort reform and medical malpractice premium decreases, Representative Waxman also emphasized how the federal government should leave these tort law decisions to the states.

He explained quite eloquently that “regulation of insurance and the practice of medicine are quintessential state issues-they always have been. H.R. 5 would take away that or pre-empt that authority and that prerogative…But as this legislation makes clear, that guiding philosophy evaporates when it comes to protecting the interests of the insurance industry. No wonder the author of this legislation did not cite the 10th Amendment-the one that reserves power to the states-as the constitutional basis for its introduction.”

The sad reality is that far too many individuals, lawmakers, and policy advocates are willing to sacrifice basic principles of federal power in an effort to enact national rules being supported by insurance companies. The old political maneuvering games played by those with inside influence and money are clearly at work when it comes to this issue.

Instead of caving to the demands of big interests, it is important to re-focus the debate back to increasing patient safety. As representative John Dingell pointed out, much potential success exists in programs that make funds available for innovative patient safety programs. In that way, the real problem-the frequency of medical malpractice-is addressed. Misguided emphasis on the effects of those errors-the medical malpractice lawsuits-is nothing more than a red herring.

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti will continue to monitor the development of this bill and similar medical malpractice related legislation. Thousands and thousands of families that suffer following medical errors; it is important that those citizens not have their legal rights taken away. Be sure to stand up for your right to fair access to the legal system and contact an Illinois injury lawyer if you have been harmed in this way.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Illinois Medical Malpractice Watch: States Against H.R. 5

Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Watch: H.R. 5 Hearing Today