The U.S. House of Representatives passed a comprehensive medical liability reform bill, H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 (PACA), by a vote of 218 to 210, which includes significant reforms to help repair our nation’s broken medical liability system, reduce the growth of health care costs, and preserve patients’ access to medical care. The AMA submitted a letter to Congress strongly supporting H.R. 1215.
PACA provides the right balance of reforms by promoting speedier resolutions to disputes, maintaining access to courts, maximizing patient recovery of damage awards with unlimited compensation for economic damages while limiting non-economic damages to $250,000. Importantly, H.R. 1215 includes language to protect medical liability reforms enacted at the state level. The CBO determined that H.R. 1215 would reduce federal health care spending by $44 billion over 10 years and reduce the deficit by $50 billion over the same period.
Proponents of the measure said it would help bring down costs of health care and increase the availability of doctors. They pointed to litigation reforms in California to lower medical malpractice liability insurance premiums for health care providers as the basis for the legislation considered on the House floor during debate.
“Health care costs are out of control due in large part to unlimited lawsuits and other problems ObamaCare failed to solve or ObamaCare made worse,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the author of the bill.
The Medical Association had requested our Congressional Delegation to support the legislation and would like to thank the following members who voted for the bill: Alabama Reps. Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Bradley Byrne, Gary Palmer, Mike Rogers and Martha Roby.