The House Republicans’ drafted bill would make it far more difficult
to win medical negligence cases, especially for the poor and elderly.
As highlighted in a
recent New York Times article, the bill would create new limits on patients who were covered by Medicare,
Medicaid, or subsidized private health insurance at the time of injury.
This obviously would affect a large segment of an already vulnerable population,
including low-income patients who receive Medicaid, and elderly patients
on Medicare. Some of the current rallying cries in support of the bill
include the falsehood that there is a “malpractice insurance crisis,”
and that the fear of litigation is driving up healthcare costs.
There is little to no evidence in support of these statements, and in fact
the experts say just the opposite. The experts say that the country’s medical malpractice insurance
industry is doing just fine, and it has not been in a crisis for well
over a decade.
The House Republicans’ current draft bill will not help the everyday
consumer, but it rather will hinder many people’s access to the
justice system. It does not even touch on the serious issues of reducing
patient harm or medical negligence, and it seems clear whose interests
they currently have in mind. This bill and bills like it ought to be rejected,
and more serious issues that affect every day American people should move
to the top of the agenda, such as access to affordable healthcare.