The U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely, Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2011" (H.R. 5) on March 22, 2012. This bill aims to take away the legal rights of injured patients, removing any incentives to improve patient safety, and leave people at risk for more injures from negligent care. This bill would impose one-size-fits-all caps on damages, not just when injured by medical negligence, but also defective drugs, medical devices, or abuse suffered in nursing homes. Read AAJ's statement here from when the bill was introduced last year.
Opposition to H.R. 5 has ranged from patient safety groups to conservative legal scholars and elected officials. The Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, which is the sixth leading cause of death. Tort reform protects negligent health providers and takes away the rights of injured patients.
Read AAJ's primer - Medical Negligence: The Role of America’s Civil Justice System in Protecting Patients’ Rights