September 2011 Newsletter

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  • September 29, 2011
Protect Patients Now

Volume 6, Issue 9 september 2011 Newsletter


Special points of interest:

Legislative Alert: Urge Deficit Reduction Committee Members to Support Medical Liability Reform
MICRA Under the Microscope, 35 Years Later
A Healthy Dose of Liability Reform Needed

Legislative Alert: Urge Deficit Reduction Committee Members to Support Medical Liability Reform

Protect Patients Now has a crucial opportunity to include medical liability reforms in a deficit reduction package and preserve patient access to care while also achieving billions of dollars in cost savings.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will meet several times within the next two months to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction savings to be undertaken over a ten‐year period, and send their recommendations to Congress for a vote by the end of the year.

As determined by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, enacting comprehensive medical liability reforms will provide $62.4 billion in budget savings over 10 years, and therefore help the Committee reach its deficit reduction goals.

The HCLA supports the inclusion of comprehensive medical liability reforms in the Committee’s final recommendation to Congress, and recently sent a letter signed by 31 of its member organizations to Committee leaders. Click here to read the HCLA’s letter.

HCLA and Protect Patients Now urge our grassroots supporters to bring this urgent message to the twelve members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

Click here to Contact Congress now and ask the Committee members to vote for meaningful reforms that will not only benefit patients and health care providers, but help resolve our nation’s fiscal crisis. With your support, we can reduce the national deficit, put an end to medical lawsuit abuse, and safeguard patient access to vital medical services. Thank you for your continued support!

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Democrats Republicans
Senator Patty Murray (WA) Senator Jon Kyl (AZ)
Senator Max Baucus (MT) Senator Rob Portman (OH)
Senator John Kerry (MA) Senator Pat Toomey (PA)
Representative Xavier Becerra (CA) Representative Jeb Hensarling (TX)
Representative Jim Clyburn (SC) Representative Fred Upton (MI)
Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD) Representative Dave Camp (MI)

MICRA Under the Microscope, 35 Years Later

It’s been more than 35 years since landmark medical liability reforms were passed in California – but the test of time and a strong track record of success hasn’t stopped personal injury lawyers from attempting to dismantle them.

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals of California again upheld the constitutionality of the law and the provision placing reasonable limits on non-economic damages, saying it does not compromise citizens’ rights.

“Our Supreme Court…has already determined the constitutionality of [the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act], in which it concluded the statute does not violate equal protection rights because the Legislature rationally could conclude a medical malpractice crisis existed that required legislative intervention to reduce medical malpractice insurance costs, and that [MICRA] is rationally related to the cost-reduction goal,” the court said.

Alicia Wagnon, legal counsel for the California Medical Association, said that MICRA has focused on “reducing and stabilizing medical malpractice insurance costs so we can retain our doctors in California and … provide the necessary care to citizens in California.”

Fortunately for California patients, 35 years of greater access to care and lower costs was enough evidence against personal injury lawyers seeking to upend a hallmark of liability reform laws. To read more about how MICRA was upheld in a California appeals court, click here.

A Healthy Dose of Liability Reform Needed

Medical liability reform is under consideration in Massachusetts to help reduce health care costs, but an editorial in the Boston Herald suggests that the proposals are lacking what is needed to truly give the state a healthy dose of reform.

Governor Deval Patrick is considering “I’m Sorry” laws and a cooling off period before liability lawsuits could be filed, but his proposal unfortunately fell short and “Patrick ignored calls for a cap on non-economic damages,” the editorial stated.

With the state facing a medical liability crisis that limits vital medical services and causes doctors to practice defensive medicine, the editorial board is on board with a greater push to fix a broken liability system that doesn’t serve the need of patients.

You can read more about editorial board’s call for reform in Massachusetts by clicking here.

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