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    JAC 2017: IPAB repeal, liability reform see renewed focus

     

    Medical liability reform efforts invade D.C.

    Among the speakers at the JAC was Simit Pandya, government relations manager at PIAA, an insurance trade association that represents the medical liability insurance community. After describing the current liability landscape for urologists, Pandya detailed ongoing state and federal reform efforts, noting particularly the progress being made at the federal level.

    Significant tort reform legislation making its way through Congress has renewed efforts to change the medical liability system on a national level. Introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Feb. 24, H.R. 1215, or the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, would impose a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages and a three-year statute of limitations for medical liability claims. It would also limit attorney contingency fees and implement a fair share rule that allots damages based on each defendant’s percentage of liability.

    Related: AUA pursues revised priorities on Capitol Hill

    Unlike the federal legislation that has failed in the past, the reforms in this bill apply only to those lawsuits where health care coverage was “provided or subsidized by the federal government, including through a subsidy or tax benefit,” and attempt to afford more flexibility to states.

    Following its recent approval by the House Judiciary Committee, the bill is expected to be considered by the entire House in the next few weeks. Despite this ongoing progress, however, the bill faces significant opposition from plaintiff’s attorneys and those who believe the legislation would trample states’ rights. As such, even if the bill does manage to pass the House, it is likely that, as Pandya predicted, the legislation will ultimately meet its demise in the Senate.

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