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Federal Medical Malpractice Reform Bill Put to Rest for 2016

Published on Jun 9, 2016 at 7:37 pm in Medical Malpractice.

On March 17th, congressional GOP leaders attempted to pass a medical malpractice reform bill which has been a top priority of the Federal Physicians Association for quite some time. If allowed to pass, the bill would have placed a severe nationwide cap on any claimable economic damages and attorney fees involved in medical malpractice cases. This cap would have two goals—to discourage malpractice lawsuits from being filed and to change the rules of evidence in civil cases in order to make it harder for medical malpractice plaintiffs to succeed in court.

Similar reforms have been enacted in a number of states already. Supporters claim that such reforms can lower the costs of healthcare while increasing physician supply, but there isn’t much in the way of actual academic evidence which supports that claim. The argument for enacting a similar reform on a nationwide level seems to focus on forcing physicians to not base a decision as to where they practice on any statewide reforms, but as Dean Clancy, U.S. Congress vet and advocate of the healthcare industry argues, the choice of where a physician wishes to practice shouldn’t be decided on by Congress. Physicians are free to practice wherever they wish. They shouldn’t be compared to imported cargo.

Similarly, patients should remain free to file a lawsuit that’s worth the trouble of actually filing the paperwork if they feel an injustice was done. Our nation’s court system is one of the few ways U.S. citizens have of directly affecting the multitudes of ways in which corporations and major businesses can interfere with the personal safety and health of citizens. The way the current system works gives every person a very potent voice in regards to their family’s healthcare.

Furthermore, most civil judicial matters—especially any matters regarding liability—have almost always been a matter of the states, and not of Congress. The socio-economic differences from state to state can vary significantly and can have a large impact on legal cases involving liability. Enforcing any type of strict judicial requirements would only limit the amount of social and economic diversity that each of the U.S. states currently enjoys.

Despite the GOP’s and Physicians Association’s best efforts, the federal med-mal reform bill did not pass, luckily. The committee’s members spoke up against the bill by saying that the “federal government has no authority to overwrite state civil liability laws”. Until further notice, the reform is stated to be “dead for the remainder of this Congress (i.e., through 2016)”.

The party which opposed the reform bill is majorly comprised of members of the Freedom Caucus, a Republican congressional caucus that aims to give Americans a direct voice against the U.S. government. So far, it seems their efforts have resulted in a win for the legal profession and for Americans who believe in the power of having a voice against major corporations.

Louisville personal injury lawyer Tad Thomas believes in providing our nation’s citizens with the tools to raise their legal concerns and is dedicated to helping Kentucky residents fight against major corporations that prioritize profit over the health and safety of their customers. Contact Thomas Law Offices to find out how we can be of service.