Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (H.R. 5):
"Two years ago, the President's health care plan became law, creating the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) -- an unelected 15-member panel that will simply cut care in order to contain Medicare costs. That's rationing -- not reform -- and that's why I voted for the PATH Act, which repeals the IPAB and reins in frivolous lawsuits in order to keep costs down and make health care more accessible. We need patient-centered solutions that preserve Americans' right to make their own health care decisions."
Over 400 patient and health care organizations support the repeal of the IPAB, including Alzheimer's Arkansas, the Arkansas Medical Society, the Arkansas Orthopaedic Society, the Arkansas Podiatric Medical Association, Easter Seals of Arkansas and the Lupus Foundation of Arkansas.
In addition to repealing IPAB, H.R. 5 also includes provisions for medical malpractice reform, limiting non-economic damages that can be awarded in these civil actions. The Harvard School of Public Health determined that 40 percent of medical malpractice suits filed in the U.S. are "without merit." Yet, the threat of these suits forces many physicians to prescribe unnecessary tests and medicines in a practice known as "defensive medicine." The result is increased health care costs for all Americans. Modeled after California's decades-old reform, H.R. 5 would allow the full payment of a plaintiff's economic losses, capping non-economic damages at $250,000.