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Amendment Goes Down the Hatch

by Kiren Gopal

In a resounding defeat of Senator Hatch’s medical liability amendment, the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee voted 13-10 yesterday against imposing an arbitrary cap on damages.  This is an important signal to the Finance Committee that restrictive limits on medical liability will not address our rising health care costs or incentivize a reduction in avoidable medical errors.  The amendment would have also imposed contingency fee limits, restrictive statutes of limitations, and raised the burden of proof.  Measures like these do nothing to combat the very real problem of medical malpractice.  “Between three and seven Americans die from medical errors for every one who receives a payment for any malpractice claim,” according to Public Citizen’s latest study.  Given these staggering statistics, limiting negligent provider accountability is not a sensible solution.   


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