Walden-Backed Health Care Legislation Passes House of Representatives
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Medical liability bill would improve access to care, patient safety legislation would help protect patients
WASHINGTON, DC - Access to health care has become one of the most critical issues facing Oregon¡¦s Second District, and U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) and his colleagues in the House of Representatives this week took action to help solve this problem by making common sense updates to the medical liability system that would help ensure doctors are available, especially in rural communities with already limited access to care.
HEALTH ACT: Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care
With a bipartisan vote of 230 to 194, the House passed the HEALTH ACT (HR 5), legislation making much-needed reforms that would help curb the spiraling costs of medical liability insurance, which currently hinder the ability of many doctors to provide care.
"As I visit often with residents and health care providers throughout central, southern and eastern Oregon, I hear time and again how skyrocketing insurance premiums are debilitating the nation¡¦s health care delivery system, especially in rural areas,¡¨ said Walden, co-chair of the bipartisan House Rural Health Care Coalition. ¡§Our region is already facing a crisis when it comes to access to care and this legislation will help more doctors keep their doors open to patients, especially in specialty care areas such as obstetrics, when not only the health of a mother is at risk, but so is that of her child."
"This legislation will make some common sense changes to our liability system, helping prevent the frivolous lawsuits that drive up the cost of care and force doctors to cease providing services. Additionally, these lawsuits detract attention and resources from those suits that are truly needed to compensate patients for medical errors." he added.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that, under the HEALTH ACT, premiums for medical malpractice insurance ultimately would be an average of 25 to 30 percent below current rates. These savings would be passed onto patients, lowering the overall cost of care.