CARH Praises House Vote on Med-Mal Reform

May 13, 2004

The Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Health Care (CARH) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a medical malpractice liability reform package as part of its “Cover the Uninsured Week” and challenged the U.S. Senate to override opposition to similar legislation.

The HEALTH Act of 2004 was introduced by Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.) Wednesday (5/5) and passed the House 229-197. A nearly identical bill, H.R. 5, passed the House 229-196 in March 2003.

“The U.S. House has shown once again that it recognizes the gravity of the escalating crisis in America’s healthcare delivery system,” said John Thomas, president of CARH and senior vice president of the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. “Americans are in dire straits. They continue to lose access to critical medical services as their doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other providers are being driven out of practice by unaffordable medical liability costs. The House has heard the cries of its constituents and demonstrated its willingness to provide relief.”

The passage of H.R. 4280 marks the second time in the 108th Congress that the U.S. House has acted to reform America’s medical liability laws.

“The provisions contained in H.R. 4280 and H.R. 5 are proven,” said
Thomas. “They have a track record of success. We need these provisions implemented on a national level to preserve access to health care for all Americans and reduce overall health care costs by more than $100 billion per year. This amount would substantially cover both the cost of the Medicare prescription drug benefits and the cost of the uninsured, without raising taxes. Alternative proposals merely seek to further shift the cost of health care onto the American taxpayer, primarily for the benefit of personal injury lawyers. The House has twice passed legislation that will help fix our nation’s healthcare delivery system. How many more Americans must suffer
before a handful of reform opponents in the Senate stop their cycle of

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