In a House vote yesterday, H.R. 1215, also known as the Protecting Access to Care Act, passed by an extremely close margin of 218 – 210. With such questionable support, patient advocates and all of us who fight to uphold the 7th amendment (the right to a trial by jury) feel hopeful that Senate Democrats and Republicans will vote against the bill. While the date of a Senate vote is yet to be announced, we cannot stress enough how important it is to continue contacting your Senators to voice your opposition to the bill. To make your voice heard, you can call your members of Congress by visiting www.takejusticeback.com/protectpatients. Please act now.
Statement from the American Association of Justice on the passage of H.R. 1215 in the House of Representatives:
For Immediate Release
June 28, 2017
Bill to Eviscerate Patient Safety Narrowly Passes House
Washington, DC—The following is a statement from American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Julie Braman Kane in response to today’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the “Protecting Access to Care Act” (H.R. 1215), a bill that strips patients and nursing home residents of their rights to hold the health care industry accountable in court for injuries or death caused by medical negligence, intentional abuse, and defective or dangerous products. The bill faced robust bipartisan opposition and narrowly passed by a vote of 218-210.
“With today’s vote, the House once again prioritized the interests of health care corporations and the insurance industry at the expense of safe, affordable medical care for Americans. AAJ stands with patients and calls on the Senate to protect the people of this country by rejecting H.R. 1215.”
“H.R. 1215 shamefully protects negligent medical providers, abusive nursing home corporations, and careless drug companies when they place profits ahead of quality care. Each year, 440,000 Americans lose their lives due to preventable medical errors. If this bill becomes law, victims and their loved ones will be unable to hold those responsible accountable. Without accountability, every American is at risk.”
“Medical malpractice liability has always been governed by the states, but H.R. 1215 is an offensive federal power grab that would trample on states’ efforts to protect their citizens and to deter dangerous, negligent providers.”
H.R. 1215 would apply to a broad range of claims including those involving injuries caused by medical negligence, defective medical devices, dangerous pharmaceuticals, and nursing home neglect and abuse. The bill includes a federal cap on non-economic damages, imposes a federal statute of limitations for most claims, restricts attorneys’ fees, and grants blanket immunity to health care providers who prescribe a drug or device that was at any point approved by the FDA – even if that drug or device has since been proven to be dangerous.
The American Association for Justice works to preserve the constitutional right to trial by jury and to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org.