Congressman Jim Matheson voted today for passage of H.R. 5--the HEALTH Act, which proposes comprehensive medical malpractice reform as well as repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a controversial provision of health care reform.
The HEALTH Act specifically imposes limits on medical malpractice litigation in state and federal courts by capping awards on attorney fees and modifying the statute of limitations, among other things. In 28 states, including California and Texas, where medical liability reform has been enacted, significant savings have resulted.
"At a time where everyone should be focused on getting the federal budget back on the right track, this is the right thing to do," said Matheson. "The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that enacting medical malpractice reform will save taxpayers $57 billion over 10 years and I believe it will lower health care costs in the private sector has well."
Additionally, Matheson supports the second component of H.R. 5-the repeal of IPAB which makes recommendations on cuts to Medicare. Matheson expressed concerns that the Board was not structured to make long-term decisions and address the underlying growth in future health care costs or achieve meaningful savings through delivery system reforms. Further, Matheson said, it is the job of Congress, not a commission, to make decisions on health care policy for Medicare beneficiaries.
Matheson also successfully added language to H.R. 5 that provides important liability protections to Good Samaritan medical professionals who travel to the scene of a disaster to help save lives. His bipartisan amendment passed and was included in the bill.
"Doctors from Utah, who volunteer to provide emergency care at the scene of natural disasters should not fear unnecessary lawsuits nor have their help refused due to uncertainty of liability protections," said Matheson.