H.R. 5: Restricts Patients' Rights and Shields Special Interst from Liability

Public Citizen

In recent years, America has faced a medical malpractice "crisis" on two fronts. There has been a temporary spike in insurance rates that is now abating. The latest national data on physician malpractice payments shows there is no evidence that the spike in some doctors' insurance rates was due to lawsuits and patients seeking compensation in the legal system. Both the number and total value of malpractice payouts to patients have been flat since 1991 and have shown a significant decline since 2001, when the so-called "crisis" began.1 The second "crisis" is the huge number of preventable medical errors that kill and injure hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.

H.R. 5, the medical liability shield act, would do nothing to prevent the sudden, dramatic malpractice premium increases that insurers periodically impose on health care providers, nor would it reduce the socio-economic cost of preventable medical errors. Instead, H.R. 5 would punish victims of medical negligence and keeps wrongdoers and their insurers from feeling the sting of accountability for negligence. It is a gift of impunity to insurers, physicians, hospitals, HMOs, nursing homes, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers--a gift that will be paid for by patients, their families, voluntary organizations and taxpayers.

Download and read H.R. 5: Restricts Patients' Rights and Shields Special Interst from Liability.