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Public Statements

Protecting Access to Healthcare Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. QUAYLE. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his work on this important piece of legislation.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 5, the PATH Act, because our country is in urgent need of medical malpractice reform. Currently, we have a jackpot justice system that is not based in reality, and it's badly damaging our country's health care system. Profiteering attorneys know this. And that's why the number of malpractice suits has been precipitously rising year after year.

Back in the 1960s, one out of seven physicians would have had a malpractice claim over their entire lifetime. Today, it's one in seven physicians are sued each year. That is an astronomical jump in the number of claims that are being put on doctors. And the doctors are now being forced out of the profession even when they haven't done anything wrong. The practice of defensive medicine is harming the quality of care and pushing up costs. The enormous expense of ensuring a doctor against liability is making health care inflation much worse, not to mention the fact that the current system is damaging the doctor-patient relationship. It damages it in a way because every doctor has to see every interaction with the patient as a potential lawsuit. That is not what the doctor-patient relationship should be built on. It should be built on mutual respect and trust. And until we have something that actually addresses the medical malpractice problems that we have and we get the reforms that are much needed, that actual relationship is never going to improve.

So I urge the House to pass the PATH Act because it will do two vital things to get health care costs under control: First, it would eliminate ObamaCare's Independent Payment Advisory Board and thereby keep a board of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats from restricting senior access to health care. It also brings medical malpractice lawsuits under control by capping noneconomic damages and limiting attorneys' fees so more money will actually go to the victims rather than overzealous trial lawyers.

These reforms will save taxpayers over $40 billion over the next decade. Everyone knows that we need to do something about rising health care costs, and this bill and taking care of the medical malpractice problems that we have will go a long way in getting those costs under control. This bill will give every Member of this House the opportunity to be part of the solution.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on H.R. 5.


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