Today, Representative Buerkle voted in support of the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act. The bill repeals a key component of the President's healthcare law, the Independent Panel Advisory Board (IPAB), and enacts medical liability reform.
"I applaud the House for passing the PATH Act today. It is an essential step in ensuring the protection of Medicare patients' access to healthcare. Healthcare choices belong in the hands of patients, their family, and their doctor. It is not for the government, and certainly not for unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, to be involved in.
"The medical liability reform enacted in this legislation will ensure access to care while reducing liability insurance and the practice of defensive medicine. While much more work needs to be done to undo the damage the President's healthcare law has caused, especially to Medicare, the passage of the PATH Act is a step in the right direction."
The IPAB is a panel of 15 unelected and unaccountable government bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs through arbitrary cuts to providers resulting in de facto rationing of care for seniors. The board's decisions cannot be challenged in the courts -- unlike other agency rules -- and carry the full force of the law.
The medical liability reform included in the PATH Act will place a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages; limit contingency fees lawyers can charge; place guidelines on punitive damages; provide a safe harbor from punitive damages for products that meet FDA safety requirements; and preserve all state laws that place higher or lower limits on any form of damages.
The PATH Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 223-181. The bill now moves to the Senate for further action. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this legislation will reduce the deficit by $45.5 billion over the FY2013-2022 period.