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Republicans Propose To Limit Medical Malpractice Settlements

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2014 | News

Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can be extremely taxing. However, if you have a good case, good representation and your doctor was indeed negligent, your settlement should reflect appropriate compensation for your trauma.

But, after all you’ve gone through, what if the settlement isn’t enough to pay your bills? And the gap exists because of politics, not because your doctor wasn’t at fault or because the judge didn’t feel you deserved more.

Health care has always been a sensitive subject in Washington. It has become even more politicized and controversial since President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. One of the concerns associated with the ACA is a possible increase in liability for health care professionals, resulting in an increase of medical malpractice claims.

The theory is, since the ACA provides incentives to those who follow higher standards of healthcare, the baseline for “standard” care is blurred. The standard for those who choose to follow the ACA guidelines will inherently be higher than those who aren’t following the same guidelines. This will ultimately affect the overall belief of what constitutes customary care and cause an increase of malpractice claims due to the failure of physicians to follow the now obscure definition of standard care.

In order to combat this potential increase, House Republicans have drafted an alternative bill, limiting medical malpractice settlement amounts on a federal level. This new bill, which the GOP is currently attempting to push through the House, will decrease the potential amount a patient can receive for her claim. By decreasing settlement amounts, doctors and healthcare institutions are then protected from the increased insurance liability resulting from the increased number of claims.

However, despite the aggressive push, the bill is currently receiving backlash from not only ACA supporters but also from health care experts and analysts allied with the Republicans. They believe the bill’s federal mandate will cause conflict with the GOP goal of protecting states’ rights and will ultimately not save money on health care costs.