House Judiciary Committee approves medical liability reform bill

Share this content:

The House Judiciary Committee has approved a key tort reform bill. The panel voted 18-15 late last week to advance the measure on to the full House.

Committee members, who marked up the bill two weeks ago, considered several of the bill's Democrat-proposed measures but rejected all, except one. That measure eliminates language that says that in any healthcare lawsuit involving injury or wrongful death, any party may introduce evidence of “collateral source benefits,” or compensation from other sources. The bill notably would limit noneconomic and punitive damages in medical lawsuits. The American Health Care Association and other provider groups such as the American Hospital Association support it.

The measure is commonly known as the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), a physician, introduced the bill at the end of January.

Similar iterations of the bill have been introduced several times in recent years. They have passed each time in the House but stalled in the Senate. Medical liability reform would save the government $54 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.