If I read public sentiment correctly, people are tired of big government imposing rules and limitations on their rights. Does Washington DC get the message? H. R. 1215 does just the opposite. Here are a few examples:
- If a defect in medical device like a hip implant or surgical mesh leaves a person with lifelong disability, the most that the manufacturer would have to pay for your life of pain and disability would be $250,000. They Call that a “cap on damages”.
- If a senior citizen is injured or dies as a result of horribly poor nursing home practices the $250,000 cap on personal damages applies.
- If a defective drug leaves a patient with a lifelong condition that ruins their life, the most that the nursing home would have to pay is $250,000 for ruining that life.
- A person’s right to contract for legal services would be restricted through a cap on attorneys fees. Result? People who want to hire an attorney in a healthcare related matter and can’t afford to pay by the hour won’t be able to find an attorney who will take their case on a contingency fee contract.
This federal legislation over-rules state rights, and is designed to protect bad and dangerous doctors, deficient nursing homes and Big Pharma from claims by regular people. Why would anyone do that when the third leading cause of death is medical errors as reported in Medical Errors Are No. 3 Cause Of U.S Deaths, Researchers Say?
A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.
Based on an analysis of prior research, the Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. On the CDC’s official list, that would rank just behind heart disease and cancer, which each took about 600,000 lives in 2014, and in front of respiratory disease, which caused about 150,000 deaths.
That phrase “keep the problem out of the public eye” caught my attention. Rights are being stolen from the people by the inside-the-beltway crowd as the public sleeps. Did I miss something? I thought that the election in November was to stop that from happening. Oh, and H.R. 1215 will have no public hearings and no amendments will be allowed. Who is running the country anyway. Certainly not the people. And if the people don’t speak up now and at the 2018 elections many more treasured and important individual rights will be gone.
The Huffington Post report “Big Pharma Worms Its Way Into Congress’ Medical Malpractice Bill” by Joanne Doroshow Executive Director of the Center For Justice & Democracy explains: “Let’s assume all this bill did was make it impossible for patients severely harmed by a hospital’s negligence to bring a case or be adequately compensated. The bill would impose a federal “cap” on what are known as “non-economic” damages, awarded for injuries like permanent disability, mutilation, trauma, loss of a limb, blindness, sexual or reproductive harm, and other types of suffering and pain. H.R. 1215 would federally-mandate that if you suffer the most severe non-economic injuries, they are worth exactly $250,000 (no matter what a local jury finds). This is what your baby’s suffering would be worth if she were severely burned and disfigured in a surgical fire (like little Dahlia Ramirez of Illinois), or what your own life would be worth if, say, your “good” testicle were removed by an incompetent surgeon, condemning you to a lifetime of horrible pain (like Steven Hanes of Pennsylvania). In both Illinois and Pennsylvania, such compensation caps are unconstitutional, as they are in many states. The House leadership doesn’t care. H.R. 1215 would force them on everyone.” Why would Congress do this? The short answer? To increase insurance company profits, which are at an all-time high as it is, and to get rid of the people’s lawyers _ trial lawyers _ who stand up for individuals who are negligently injured at the careless, indifferent hands of powerful corporate or governmental interests. As Doroshow explains:
Organized medicine is not clamoring for this bill and why would they? Doctors’ premiums and malpractice claims are about the lowest in history. This law would have no impact on health care costs, except make them go up. And it will certainly add to the misery of children like Dahlia Ramirez, whose preexisting condition was caused by the very health care system that should have protected her, and whose responsibility this bill would eliminate.
But even more than that, H.R. 1215 is one huge, deceptive gift to the pharmaceutical industry. Respected attorney Tatum O’Brien of Fargo, ND has also weighed in on this handout to Big Pharma and negligent doctors in her article “H.R. 1215- an Anti-Justice Bill Limiting Recovery for those Injured in Healthcare Cases“:
“Essentially, the bill limits health care lawsuits when the care was subsidized by the federal government. This includes healthcare subsidized through the Affordable Care Act, veteran health plans, Medicare and Medicaid. H.R. 1215 was introduced in the House and limits lawsuits by individuals injured by negligent or abusive health care facilities or defective drugs. H.R. 1215 proposes imposing a federal cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages in these types of healthcare cases.”
Justice is the most important goal of man on earth and certainly justice lies at the heart of our values. People need to stand up and say “No!!” Write to Congress and call your representatives in DC. Here is the link to do that: CONTACT CONGRESS
Other informative articles on the subject are:
TORT DEFORM: Tort Reform and the Absurdity of Caps on Damages, Scott R. Marshall
Tort Reform Has No Place In Health Care Reform by Wayne Parsons written in 2009
A resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, Wayne Parson is an Injury Attorney that has dedicate his life to improving the delivery of justice to the people of his community and throughout the United States. He is driven to make sure that the wrongful, careless or negligent behavior that caused his clients' injury or loss does not happen to others.