House committee approves medical liability reform

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to approve a bill that would place caps on medical liability for providers, reports AHA News Today.

The bill, which was co-authored by Republicans and Democrats, is based on medical malpractice reform that California passed in the mid-1970s. Like the California legislation, the bill would cap non-economic "pain and suffering" damages at $250,000. It would also place caps on attorney contingency fees and eliminate punitive damages regarding any medical device that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The bill, H.R. 5, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year, and is expected to be submitted to a vote by the full House of Representatives next month. Similar bills had been approved by the House in the past, but were defeated by the Senate.

The American Hospital Association supports this current bill, claiming it would reduce the practice of "defensive medicine," which costs the U.S. healthcare system as much as $100 billion per year.

For more:
- read the AHA News Now article
- here's the Business Roundtable statement