It’s an Election Year, So It’s Time for a Tort Reform Bill & Snappy Acronym

by Faegre Baker Daniels
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If it’s an election year, it must be time for someone in Congress to propose a tort reform bill and to come up with a snappy acronym—the more tortured, the better.

And Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) has done just that, with the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act (HEALTH) of 2016.  Rep. Franks gets extra credit for leaving “tort reform” and “cap on damages” out of the title.

The theory of the bill is that fear of malpractice litigation and liability reduces access to health care and causes doctors to practice defensive medicine, which in turn drives up medical costs.  The bill would cap noneconomic damages at $250,000, modify statutes of limitation, and place limits on an attorney’s share of an award.

In the typical election-year paradox, Democrats say they oppose the bill because it deprives states of power, while Republicans argue that the federal government should manage the issue.

An earlier version of the bill was introduced in 2012, which, by amazing coincidence, was also an election year.  That bill went nowhere, possibly because the election year came to an end.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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