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Congressman Olver Statement on Republican Bill to Limit Health Care Lawsuits


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman John W. Olver voted against H.R. 5, a bill repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and placing far-reaching new limits on medical malpractice claims.

"I am greatly concerned that the medical malpractice provisions would limit patient welfare while extending protections to drug makers, insurance companies, medical device manufacturers and HMOS. This bill would prevent victims of medical malpractice from seeking legal remedy or fighting for equitable compensation," Congressman John Olver said. "I reject this unprecedented limitation of the rights of those patients harmed by medical negligence."

IPAB was established by the Affordable Care Act to contain Medicare spending growth without affecting benefits. Medical malpractice provisions include a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages and a three-year statute of limitations on claims. Drug companies would be given total immunity from punitive damages even if drugs are not approved by the FDA but generally recognized by experts as safe and effective. Drug companies would no longer have any financial incentive to remove dangerous drugs from shelves to limit public consumption. Unlike existing laws regarding medical malpractice liability, H.R. 5 would apply to all health care lawsuits and would decimate medical malpractice law in many states.

H.R. 5 passed by a vote of 223 to 181 and now awaits action in the Senate.

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