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Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC

HELP EFFICIENT, ACCESSIBLE, LOW-COST, TIMELY HEALTHCARE (HEALTH) ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 28, 2005)


Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) for yielding me this very precious time.

Mr. Speaker, I am a doctor's wife. There is nobody in this body that wants medical malpractice reform more than I. My husband's medical malpractice has gone up exponentially every single year for absolutely no reason, and if I thought for a minute that this legislation would cure that problem and provide relief for the doctors of this country, I would be all over this legislation.

Unfortunately, this piece of legislation will not do what the Republican side of the aisle says it will. And if the Republican leadership really wanted to provide relief for the doctors, we would have legislation on the floor that the bipartisan Congress could vote on and support and pass and put before the President for signature.

This is a bill not to help the doctors. This bill contains and limits claims against negligent hospitals, drug companies, medical device manufacturers, nursing homes, HMOs, and insurance companies. This bill is not for doctors. This bill is a gift to the insurance companies. There is no provision, there is not one line, one sentence in a 26-page bill, that would ensure that the savings that was realized by the insurance companies would be passed on to the doctors. The doctors will continue to suffer while the insurance companies will get happier and richer.

There is a medical crisis in this country. There is a crisis in access to health care. This is not the legislation that is going to cure that. And for those people who talk lovingly and glowingly of the insurance companies and the marketplace and competition will lower the cost for the doctors, let us have another thought about that. Since when, since when, can the doctors put their faith in the insurance companies when it is the insurance companies that are messing up the doctors? I do not like to see the doctors being used by the insurance companies to do the insurance companies' dirty work.

Let us get a reality check here. Let us not pass this dog of a piece of legislation. Let us work together and pass legislation that is truly going to provide medical malpractice reform and lower premiums for the doctors. They need it, and they deserve it.


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