A new health care reform bill made its way through Congress--with a final vote of 223-181--onto President Obama’s desk, threatening the rights of all U.S. citizens. If advocates of H.R. 5 have their way, the door on justice for injured patients will be slammed shut.
The Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, also referred to as H.R. 5, aims to prevent injured patients from pursing litigation against unfit medical professionals.
Although the bill passed Congress, the strong “no” vote sends a clear message that people are willing to stand firm against H.R. 5 in order to preserve injured Americans’ 7th Amendment rights. Opposition to the bill comes from patient safety groups, conservative legal scholars and elected officials.
The Public Citizen consumer advocacy group wrote a letter to the members of the House saying the new bill would be devastating to victims of medical malpractice, “overturn numerous state laws and escalate the costs of existing government programs by saddling the state with costs created by private wrongdoers” as well as “shield physicians and hospitals, drug and medical device manufacturers and nursing home operators from accountability.”
Medical malpractice is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and avoidable medical errors cost tax-payers nearly $17 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. These figures will likely only worsen with the approval of H.R. 5. As an advocate of justice, Sokolove Law will fight to ensure that the rights of every U.S. citizen are protected and that this bill does not become law.
“The supporters of H.R. 5 are attempting to condition the public into believing the bill will reduce costs and reform a ‘broken system,’ when in reality the passing of this bill would protect bad doctors at the expense of the people they hurt. Any savings in the system would flow right into the pockets of doctors and insurance companies instead of towards better healthcare,” said Gabriel Miller, General Counsel & Managing Attorney of Sokolove Law.
Rather than improving the medical care system, as the sponsors of the H.R. 5 claim, this bill would detrimentally affect the lives of every American by making way for patient injustice in the medical industry.
If passed, the bill will result in the lack of incentives to improve the safety of patients and “leave people at risk for more injuries from negligent care”, according to the American Association for Justice (AAJ).
H.R. 5 suggests a severe one-size-fits all limit on damages that patients can seek if they are harmed by negligence, medical devices, defective drugs, or suffer nursing home abuse. The monetary cap would even apply to doctors who intentionally kill or harm patients, as well as “insurance companies that refuse to pay just claims for medical bills,” according to a press release issued by AAJ.
Sokolove Law is dedicated to providing equal access to the civil justice system and will stand alongside AAJ in the battle to protect the rights of every U.S. citizen.