Com­mit­tee counts li­a­bil­ity re­form as sav­ings mech­a­nism

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

The House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee has ap­proved a pro­posal that in­cludes ear­lier-passed med­i­cal li­a­bil­ity re­form leg­is­la­tion as a way to find sav­ings to avoid ar­bi­trary, across-the-board cuts to fed­eral pro­grams next year. Last month, the House passed a bud­get bill that also re­quested six House com­mit­tees to find ar­eas of sav­ings in a so-called rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process to re­place se­ques­tra­tion, the au­to­matic across-the­board bud­get cuts that will kick in Jan­uary 2013 un­der the Bud­get Con­trol Act of 2011 if Congress can’t agree to how to achieve $1.2 tril­lion in cuts or added rev­enue over the next decade. In a 16-14 vote, the panel ap­proved the Help Ef­fi­cient, Ac­ces­si­ble, Low-cost, Timely Health­care, or HEALTH, Act of 2011, which Rep. Phil Gin­grey (R-GA.), a physi­cian, in­tro­duced last year. In March, the House passed leg­is­la­tion that in­cluded Gin­grey’s bill along with a pro­vi­sion to repeal the In­de­pen­dent Pay­ment Ad­vi­sory Board that was cre­ated in the 2010 health­care re­form law (See story, p. 17). The tort re­form mea­sure would cre­ate a $250,000 cap on noneco­nomic dam­ages of any mal­prac­tice suit in the coun­try. Mean­while, any puni­tive dam­ages awarded would be as much as $250,000 or as much as two times the amount of eco­nomic dam­ages awarded, which­ever is greater.

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