This evening, the House Energy and Commerce Committee doubled-down on legislation that chips away at fundamental legal protections of patients while doing nothing to address the very real and serious patient safety crisis in America.
By a vote of 30-20, the deceptively-named Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 (H.R. 5), was reported out of Commitee.
This legislation is an extreme, anti-patient bill that would take away legal rights of injured patients by:
- Imposing a one-size-fits-all $250,000 cap on non-economic damages that injured patients can seek;
- Extending this cap to health care providers that intentionally harm or kill patients, as well as insurance companies that refuse to pay just claims for medical bills;
- Limiting the right to seek justice when injured by a defective medical device, drug, or abuse suffered in nursing homes.
Removing legal accountability will also remove incentives to improve safety and leave people at risk for more injuries from negligent care. Read more about the bill, and AAJ's calls for improving patient safety, here.