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A Must Read: Top 5 Reasons to Oppose H.R. 1215

We’d like to share insightful information from an April newsletter from the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) regarding 5 major reasons to oppose the Protecting Access to Care Act, better known as H.R. 1215. The bill, due to be voted on at any moment by the House, has a sweet-sounding name that overrides the detrimental aftermath that will result if the policy becomes law.

ITLA’s newsletter contains information shared by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and perfectly sums up why we as Americans should oppose the passage of a bill that will take away our civil rights.

Below are the top 5 reasons to oppose The Protecting Access to Care Act (H.R. 1215):

  1.  H.R. 1215 violates the 10th Amendment and overrules state law 

The 10th Amendment is in line with the underlying principles of the Constitution – that the federal government should only have the power to govern in the areas specifically mentioned in the Constitution. The ruling and governing on all other matters is given to the states. Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the 10th amendment over and over again, supporting the Constitution and preserving states’ rights. The passage of H.R. 1215 would give the federal government the power to override many states’ already existing laws on medical malpractice, injury, and nursing home abuse & neglect lawsuits.

      2.   H.R. 1215 will NOT lower healthcare costs & could potentially raise taxes

Multiple studies have proven that medical malpractice and lawsuits are not the reason behind our healthcare cost crisis. The Congressional Budget Office has conducted 26 studies of its own in the past 30 years and its most recent study, led by Northwestern University & University of Illinois, has shown that states that pass caps on non-economic damages (the aim of H.R. 1215)  see a 4% increase in Medicare Part B spending. The study also revealed that total Medicare spending would also increase with the passage of H.R. 1215.

      3.   H.R. 1215 overreaches – it will limit our rights to ALL healthcare claims

The bill is being touted as the answer to America’s healthcare cost crisis, limiting medical malpractice lawsuits that allegedly drive doctors and hospitals out of business. The reality is that this bill will strip Americans of their right to justice in any lawsuit that involves doctors and hospitals, of course, but also pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, nursing homes, clinics, or anyone handling your medical care. The problem with this is that stories of medical mistakes and tragedy are an unfortunately common occurrence. In fact, medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in this country. If you or a loved one were harmed as the result of medical negligence by any provider or corporation, your right to compensation would be limited to $250,000.

       4.     Sexual assault of elderly in nursing homes will go virtually unpunished

Earlier this year, CNN ran an investigative report about the epidemic of sexual assault in nursing homes. Previous sex offenders, violent offenders, and those who have a history of sexual assault in nursing homes but have evaded conviction are preying upon the vulnerable elderly.  H.R. 1215 would classify sexual assault and rape in nursing homes or other medical facilities as non-economic damages, limiting the recovery amount for victims and loved ones to $250,000.

Allow us to ask an uncomfortable question. If something such as this happened to an innocent child that was supposed to be under the watchful eye of a school, would we ever allow our government to tells us what the loss of their innocence is worth? If a family were to bring a lawsuit alleging that a school district knew that an employee had a past and failed to protect children, would we be able to sit back and accept that although no money was lost, there is no punishment to the school for its negligence? No fair compensation to the child and its family for the loss of dignity, innocence and security?

        5.  H.R. 1215 takes away medical accountability 

It’s an age-old argument. Awarding money to victims of medical negligence won’t right a wrong or fix an injury. True. But the purpose of non-economic damages is to compensate victims for the loss of things money can’t directly buy: the ability to walk, dance, the loss of a mind free from worry, the loss of a life, the list of grievances is endless. The other aim of non-economic damages? In many cases it is the only way to shock major corporations, health care providers, and the medical community as a whole into better training, better hiring practices, more research, and ultimately better care. In good faith, how could our government tell us what our life and health are worth while allowing for-profit nursing homes, major hospital chains, and giant corporations to practice medicine and produce products recklessly with no recourse?

So…Just who is H.R. 1215 actually protecting? Certainly not you.

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