Dr. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and two other U.S. House members introduced a bipartisan medical liability reform bill to try to lower healthcare costs and strengthen the relationship between physicians and their patients.
Medical liability reform bill introduced in House
Gingrey, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and David Scott (D-Ga.) are co-sponsors on the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act, or the HEALTH Act. Gingrey said in a news release the bill would save the federal treasury billions of dollars each year by reducing the need for so-called defensive medicine. He also said it would encourage health practitioners to maintain their practices and reduce costs for patients.
Gingrey is the senior health subcommittee member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Smith is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Those committees are among the four House committees that have been directed to draft legislation to replace last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The American Medical Association issued a statement in support of the bill, saying it includes reforms that will “repair the broken medical liability system, reduce the growth of healthcare costs and preserve patients' access to medical care.” Last week, Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven, the AMA's chairwoman, testified before the House Judiciary Committee, in which she said nearly 61% of physicians age 55 and older have been sued, and that 64% of liability claims that closed in 2009 were either dropped or dismissed.
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