Liberty Place, Suite 700
325 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-2802
(202) 638-1100 Phone
Monday, July 22nd 2002
The Honorable James F. Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Committee on the Judiciary
U. S. House of Representatives
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
On behalf of the American Hospital Association (AHA), I am writing to offer our strong support for H.R. 4600, the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Health Care Act of 2002.” The AHA applauds your leadership in addressing the important issue of reforming our nation’s health care liability system. Your common sense and bipartisan approach is especially welcome. H.R. 4600 contains a tested package of reforms, and we urge you to pass this balanced legislation without amendment when it is marked-up in your Committee.
The AHA believes that the health care liability reforms enacted in California under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA) should be adopted on the federal level. For more than 25 years, MICRA has demonstrated that patients’ rights can be protected at the same time that medical liability costs are reduced. With medical liability premiums skyrocketing around the country, we urge you to pass these MICRA-style reforms that include:
A $250,000 cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering), and full payment of all other costs and damages incurred
Collateral source payment offsets, thus preventing double payment for the same expense by two or more insurance companies or other payers
Periodic payment of future damages over $50,000
A three-year statute of repose, and one-year statute of limitations
Joint and several liability
Limitation of plaintiff attorney contingency fees
State demonstrations of alternate dispute resolution programs
The AHA stands ready to work with Congress to enact meaningful professional liability reforms. Please call Curtis Rooney, senior associate director and counsel, at (202) 626-2678 if you have any questions.
Executive Vice President