Lawmakers tackle tort reform bill again

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The full House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday worked on shaping a new version of the most high-profile tort-reform bill offered in recent years. The committee marked up the medical liability reform bill called Help Accessible, Efficient, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced the bill in the House on Jan. 24 and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) introduced a companion measure on Jan. 27.

The bill would limit noneconomic and punitive damages in medical lawsuits and is supported by long-term care associations.

“Due to the role Medicare and Medicaid play in long term care funding, comprehensive tort reform allows everyone to win by reducing costs and enhancing quality of care,” Gov. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, said. “Every dollar that does not go toward medical liability costs is used for the healthcare of our patients and residents.”

Similar iterations of this bill have been introduced numerous times in recent years, always passing in the House but getting stalled in the Senate. Medical liability reform would save the government $54 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.