What: All Issues : Corporate Subsidies : HR 5. Caps on Malpractice Awards/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits. (2003 house Roll Call 63)
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HR 5. Caps on Malpractice Awards/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Bill to Restrict Patients' Rights By Limiting Damages in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.
house Roll Call 63     Mar 13, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In the years since taking over the House in 1995, Republicans had proposed capping medical malpractice claims seven times. They felt the size of these awards was driving doctors out of the profession and raising the cost of health care for everyone. The eighth version of the bill capped pain and suffering awards at $250,000 and capped punitive damages at either $250,000 or twice the economic damages, whichever was greater. Progressives--and Democrats generally--agreed that some restrictions on awards were necessary, but they felt the Republican caps restricted patient rights without any means to ensure that the savings would be passed to physicians in the form of lower malpractice premiums. The rules for debate on this bill forbade any amendments to it. However, Conyers (D-MI) moved instead to recommit (send back) the bill to its committee with instructions that two provisions be added: an independent advisory commission, and a requirement that plaintiff attorneys in medical malpractice cases file a certificate of merit. Progressives opposed the bill itself, so they supported this attempt to scuttle it. However, the motion to recommit failed, 191-234, and the bill moved closer to final passage.

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