FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 5, 2009
Contact: Jake Rubin
KAGEN: MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM IS IN THE NEW BILL
(WASHINGTON, DC) Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. says the Affordable Health Care for America Act takes critical steps to fixing America’s broken medical malpractice system. The bill sets up pilot projects to find the right balance between protecting patients and their families, which will allow physicians to do their jobs without threats of frivolous lawsuits.
“As someone who has been paying medical malpractice insurance premiums for three decades, I know that we need to fix this problem and find the right balance. This issue came up frequently in our town hall meetings this summer, and I delivered that message to my colleagues in the House,” said Dr. Kagen.
There are 2 important medical malpractice reforms in the health care bill:
First, it introduces competition in the insurance marketplace for the first time in half a century. The only two entities exempt from federal anti-trust laws are Major League Baseball and insurance. That means insurance companies don’t compete, and prices go up. The bill would open health insurance and medical malpractice insurance to real competition by repealing part of a law passed in 1945. This law was meant to be temporary, but has continued for more than sixty years.
Second, the bill will give states financial incentives to adopt and implement alternatives to medical malpractice litigation.
“Competition will lower medical malpractice rates, which is good for doctors and their patients and by encouraging creative solutions we can also lower costs for all,” said Kagen.
Debate on the Affordable Health Care for America Act could begin on the floor of the House of Representatives as soon as Friday.
“I am working hard to guarantee access to affordable care for all of us, and the Affordable Health Care for America Act is a huge step in that direction,” said Dr. Kagen. “For my entire career I have been listening to people tell their health care stories. For more than thirty years I listened to my patients and I have held countless listening sessions throughout Northeast Wisconsin since 2006. The message has been clear: Fix what is broken, and improve on what we already have at a price we can all afford to pay. With the Affordable Health Care for America Act we are doing just that while strengthening and protecting Medicare at the same time.”