Update on Health Care Reform and Issues of Medical Negligence

Here is an excerpt from the lastest update from new AAJ president Anthony Tarricone:

The amendments defeated [in the health care reform bill] include the Burgess Amendment that would apply overall caps and other severe restrictions on medical malpractice awards, another Burgess Amendment that would have applied caps to injured patients who receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits, and the Deal amendment that would have applied the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) to emergency room doctors with private insurance. Another victory for our clients includes passage of the Pallone Amendment that moved community health center volunteers currently immune under the Volunteer Protection Act (VPA) to FTCA coverage, thereby treating them the same as paid workers at community health centers.

While more medical malpractice amendments were filed, these amendments were not offered in an agreement worked out between Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), the author of four of the amendments, and Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA). In exchange for Rep. Gordon dropping the most extreme provisions, Chairman Waxman accepted language that would create a federal payment incentive for states that pass either a certificate or merit, which 21 states have already passed, or an early offers program, such as Sorry Works. We will continue to work with House leadership as they work to prepare the bill for floor consideration in September.

If you an advocate for the civil justice system, remember to have your clients – those first injured by negligence and subsequently injured by ‘tort reform’ – talk to their Congressional representatives during the August recess.

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