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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
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The Shocking and Scandalous Myths and Facts About H. R. 5

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House Resolution 5 (H.R. 5) seeks to strip patients of their rights to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for avoidable injury. With the Institute of Medicine reporting that 98,000 patients die needlessly due to avoidable medical errors you might wonder what kind of cool-aide the new Republican majority in the House has been drinking. Of course the answer is simple. they are simply serving the interests of the big corporations, the insurance companies and the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce that works exclusively for the biggest companies in the U.S. and overseas.

What would H.R. 5 do? First, it ignores patient safety. The 98,000 deaths are avoidable and so it seems that Congress should pass some legislation forcing doctors and hospitals to clean up their act and stop hurting people. But H.R. 5 has nothing in it to deal with patient safety. What it does is to impose "severe, one-size-fits-all caps on damages that patients can seek when injured by medical negligence, defective drugs, medical devices, or abuse suffered in nursing homes. It even extends this cap to health care providers that intentionally harm or kill patients, as well as insurance companies that refuse to pay just claims for medical bills." according to the American Association of Justice (AAJ).

The death rate continues to climb while Congress spends its time shoveling profits to big corporations and a medical profession that refuses to police itself and put a stop to the rampant death rate from avoidable medical errors. The New York Times reports today that Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who introduced H.R. 5, was involved in a $500,000 settlement of a malpractice lawsuit. You can read the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/health/09malpractice.html. Nothing in Congress surprises me anymore.

As I have written previously Tort Reform Has No Place in Health Care Reform. H. R. 5 is another reason to ask the public to tell Congress that people matter more than profits and that health is the most precious of our personal treasures.