Providers: Congress 'wastes' another chance at liability reform

Share this content:

The routine is getting well practiced: Members of the U.S. Senate propose reform to medical liability laws, and others vote to block it from advancing. The most recent example came Wednesday, when a 49-48 Senate vote showed that advocates could not get the 60 votes needed to bring the measure to the Senate floor for a full vote.

It's the second time this year alone that a group powered by Democrats prevented the advance of a liability reform measure. Senate Republicans said they would make another attempt soon. The House has passed broad medical liability reform numerous times over the past decade only to have companion bills founder in the Senate.

Although long-term care was not included in the most recent proposal -- the Senate's rejection of S. 2207, the "Pregnancy and Trauma Care Access Protection Act" – its rejection was a "wasted opportunity to reinvigorate the debate on medical liability reform," said Charles H. Roadman II, MD, CNA, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association.

S. 2207 would have capped non-economic damages in medical liability cases involving emergency care providers, obstetricians and gynecologists.

The Health Coalition on Liability and Access, of which AHCA is a member, released polling data today that finds that 73% of Americans polled believe that Congress should enact reforms to limit payments to trial lawyers from medical liability claims.