The past few months have been ripe with talk about healthcare reform. The United States Senate has been focused on health care bills, and the U.S. House of Representatives is voting on a number of medical malpractice-related legislation. In a time when our political and healthcare systems seem more volatile than ever, many are questioning what are the hidden agendas in healthcare reform.
Many pieces of legislation certainly don’t seem to be geared at protecting the public at large. In fact, many people and advocacy groups believe that healthcare reform is currently protecting doctors and putting patient rights at risk. Let’s look at some of the most pressing concerns with current healthcare reform.
Healthcare Reform Limiting Adequate Compensation
Many states have already established individual laws regarding compensation for claims of medical malpractice, negligence, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death. And while some are restrictive, none are as harsh or Constitutionally-questionable as H.R. 1215, a piece of federal legislation currently before the House.
H.R. 1215 would place a generalized cap on the amount of non-economic damages a victim can receive in a variety of situations, regardless of the damage done. If H.R. 1215 is passed, victims may be subject to the following:
- A nursing home resident dies as a result of poor practices or negligent care. His or her family will be subject of a $250,000 cap on personal damages.
- A patient suffers lifelong illness or disability due to a defective drug. He or she will be subject to a $250,000 cap on personal damages, even though their life is permanently changed.
- A patient was severely injured or died as a result of a defective medical device. The manufacturer would only be required to pay $250,000 compensation regardless of the severity of the injury (or death).
In short, no matter how negligent a doctor, manufacturer, surgeon, or nursing home was, H.R. 1215 essentially places a $250,000 value on a human life or a lifetime of suffering. Meanwhile, those responsible only face limited liability for the injuries or loss they caused.
Federal Reform Limiting Consumer and Patient Rights
In addition to limiting compensation, legislation like H.R. 1215 also limit consumer and patient rights in other ways. For example, federal “reform” like H.R. 1215 has specific provisions stating that, if passed, there will be no public hearings, and no amendments will be allowed. Such legislation also promises to increase insurance premiums, which are at an all time high, padding the pockets of insurance companies and putting more Americans who cannot afford insurance at risk.
Legislation like this also compromises consumer and patient rights to file lawsuits against negligent healthcare providers, nursing homes, or pharmaceutical companies. Restrictive damage caps are being said to serve as a deterrent so that fewer attorneys will find it profitable to handle such cases, and thus less lawsuits will be filed.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
If you or someone you love has been injured by medical malpractice or negligence, nursing home abuse, or a defective drug or medical device, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney right away. Protecting your legal rights at this uncertain time is paramount. Contact Daic Law today to learn more about how we can help you fight for your rights and advocate on your behalf to get the justice and compensation you deserve.