If certain congressmen have it their way, your life will be worth $250,000. In an effort to supposedly prevent the rising costs of healthcare, legislators have pushed for the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017. H.R. 1215, like many other bills in Congress these days, this bill has a deceiving title and is centered on a premise that is an outright lie.
The argument is that medical malpractice has ballooned out of control and raises the costs of healthcare. However, research shows this is not the case. In fact, medical costs are widely unaffected by medical malpractice cases. The idea is to limit the access that medical malpractice victims have to being compensated for their injuries or death as a result medical care below the standard of care. This saves nursing homes, hospitals, and their insurance companies money millions of dollars and that is what this is all about – their attempt to limit your rights and save them money. This is a sad joke as most if not all nursing homes and hospitals are covered by insurance. This is really about saving insurance companies money and screwing victims.
As medical malpractice attorneys, we’ve seen first hand the kinds of injuries medical malpractice can cause and how quickly the costs of caring for a medical malpractice injury can accumulate. The costs of caring for someone after a medical malpractice injury can easily cost more than $250,000 within the first few years, especially if the injury causes long-term health issues. For families that suffer the loss of a loved one, $250,000 is a tragically low. Just thinking about the loss of income produced by that family member, $250,000 isn’t enough. And that’s not even mentioning the pain and loss of companionship of your loved one.
So why are legislators trying to limit the value of a victim’s life to just $250,000, despite that such a compensation cap would be insufficient in many medical malpractice cases? Because they want to limit the power individuals have to hold healthcare companies accountable.
However, political pundits believe H.R. 1215 is unlikely to progress forward to become a law as it is currently written by the House. “While these bills could be incorporated into the Senate health care package, it is unlikely H.R. 2579 or H.R. 1215 would pass the Senate as stand-alone bills,” writes Katie Novaria. Yet congressmen are trying to sweeten the deal to get states on board with medical malpractice caps.
House Republicans are trying to use state’s budget shortfalls to incentivize states to participate in programs to limit the value of lives. The Washington Post reported, “On medical malpractice reform, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said he has written an amendment to reward states with a 1 percent bonus to their federal Medicaid matching funds if they cap punitive damages for medical malpractice actions.” Ted Cruz doesn’t give a damn about victims or their families and is beholden to the corporate interests that fund his campaigns. Aren’t Senators supposed to work for the people? Not in the case of Cruz and many others.
Arkansas has been moving towards a new cap on medical malpractice compensation and will put a Constitutional Amendment in front of voters, putting the cap at $500,000. While twice the proposed federal cap, it will fail to cover the real costs medical malpractice victims and their families face.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury because of substandard medical care, it is important to act quickly, not only to avoid changing legislation but because there are strict time limits on how long after an injury or death claim may be filed.
Contact your representatives to voice your opposition to the bill before Congress and vote No on the Arkansas Constitutional Amendment. Remember to call our medical malpractice team to find out how we may be able to help you if your family or your friends have a death or injury.