South Carolina Injury Attorneys
The Truth Behind the HEALTH Act

The Truth Behind the HEALTH Act

H.R. 4771, also known as Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2016 is back. In 2005, the same bill was passed by the House of Representatives.

Due to the way HEALTH was drafted, injured patients and their families are limited in regards to the ability they have to hold health care and medical products providers accountable. In addition, the bill would limit measures placed against for-profit nursing homes, insurance and pharmaceutical industries and against doctors who commit intentional torts. Congress should prioritize patient protection above insurance and pharmaceutical industries, but that isn’t the case with H.R. 4771.

Will it Help The Economy?

Supporters of HEALTH believe that the bill is necessary for creating jobs and will help the economy grow, but the truth is that job creation has never been used as a justification for H.R. 4771 – until now. Under this legislation, medical professionals and providers cannot be held fully responsibly for cases of medical negligence. This so-called “incentive” for job growth puts a patient’s wellbeing at risk.

Will it Control Defensive Medicine Costs?

In 2014, less than a quarter of a penny went towards patients who were victims of medical negligence. Additionally, there are no grounds to conclude that defensive medicine not only exists, but is a contributing factor to the rising cost of healthcare. The system put in place encourages self-referrals, which will cause an increase in health care costs.

The Reforms of H.R. 4771

A 2014 study done by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois found that while tort system changes had no impact on hospital-based spending, it caused a 4-5 percent increase in physician service spending. It was concluded that the reforms outlined in H.R. 4771 would increase costs and reduce health care quality.

Some of the reforms contained in H.R. 4771 include:

  • Reduced statute of limitations: The legislation reduces the amount of time an injured patient has to file a lawsuit and would cut off claims involving diseases that were asymptomatic for an extended period of time.
  • $250,000 cap on non-economic damages: There is a limit placed on non-economic damages, regardless of the number of parties involved. Non-economic damages compensate patients for serious injuries such as fertility loss and loss of a limb or sight.
  • Severe restrictions on contingent fees: With H.R. 4771, the court has power to restrict the plaintiff’s attorney fees – regardless of whether the recovery is by settlement, judgment or alternative dispute resolution.

Pursuing mass tort legal action can be a complicated process. Our Greenville personal injury lawyers have 95 years of combined experience and are committed to guiding you through every step of the legal process. Call Christian & Christian today at (864) 408-8890 to learn more about your case.


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