|Stop H.R. 5 (med mal, fee caps & more)
March 14, 2012
Dear Leaders Forum members,
As Leaders Forum members you are among the first to receive this Special Advocacy Update on a fast-approaching House Floor vote on H.R. 5, an extensive and harmful bill that would affect caps on damages, limits on attorneys’ fees, medical negligence law, nursing home cases, medical device and pharmaceutical cases, and bad faith cases against health insurers.
You will find a complete update below on the situation on Capitol Hill, the advocacy we are undertaking, and information about how you can weigh in with Congress. Please take time to review this urgent matter.
Your ongoing support of AAJ is vital to the work AAJ does every day to support your practices, and your clients. Thank you for your continued commitment to AAJ as a member of Leaders Forum.
All my best,
Gary M. Paul
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For more than a year, we’ve halted progression of H.R. 5—a far-reaching bill that would affect caps on damages, limits on attorneys’ fees, medical negligence law, nursing home cases, medical device and pharmaceutical cases, and bad faith cases against health insurers.
This week, our advocacy has kicked into high gear because the legislation is on a fast track to a full House Floor vote expected next week. House Republican leadership is timing the vote on H.R. 5 to occur the same week as the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the possible repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
We have already started advocating for you and your clients, and this email provides information, below, on how you can help.
A New Attack
H.R. 5—the Protecting Access to Healthcare Act—will have two sections: Title I is the HEALTH Act; Title II is a proposal to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board which was created through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 to bring cost savings to Medicare. We must have a strong NO vote in the House to send a strong message to the Senate.
As you know, the Congressional Budget Office previously estimated that tort law changes would save $54 billion over the next decade, which is about 0.5% of all health care spending. House Republican leadership is looking to include these so-called “cost savings” from medical malpractice as a way to pay for other government initiatives. This idea first came up in February when House Republicans tried to include medmal reform in the Highway Reauthorization bill.
It is hard to believe that we have elected representatives who would advocate for a law that would further harm individuals and families who are already hurting from the results of medical negligence. This issue is a sharp reminder of why we must elect pro-civil justice lawmakers.
AAJ Will Not Compromise Accountability and Patient Safety
Accountability encourages safe healthcare. H.R. 5 destroys accountability. The Institute of Medicine found that 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors.
Instead of focusing on limiting patients' legal rights, more attention should be paid to making sure people aren't injured in the first place, which will save money and lives.
How to Help: Contact your members of Congress and tell them:
- The Institute of Medicine found that 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, at a cost of nearly $300 billion over 10 years.
- This amount doesn't even include the costs associated with people who are injured but survive the event.
- Decreasing the number of patients killed by medical errors would have potential savings six times greater than tort law changes.
You can also send AAJ cases (medical negligence, drug, and device) that illustrate why this legislation is harmful to patients. Please join our advocacy efforts so that together we send the strongest message possible—accountability and patient safety must come first. Anything less is unacceptable.
|Gary M. Paul
American Association for Justice
Chief Executive Officer
American Association for Justice