Chamber urges U.S. House Members to support H.R. 4280, the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2004"
TO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector and region, urges you to support H.R. 4280, the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Health Care (HEALTH) Act of 2004." Comprehensive liability reforms for all health care services are needed, and the House must act now to preserve access to health care in communities across the nation. We support this bill as a critical part of the U.S. House of Representative's "Careers for a 21st Century America."
America's medical liability system is broken. In states that lack reasonable liability reforms, multi-million dollar jury awards and settlements in medical liability cases are forcing providers to abandon high-risk elements of their practices, retire early, or relocate to other states. As a result, available hospital services are reduced and patients suffer as they find it increasingly difficult to access care in their communities.
The costs of excessive litigation and defensive medicine are driving up expenditures by employers and working families for health insurance, which is hurting access to affordable health coverage. Moreover, without access to nearby medical facilities and health care providers, communities are unable to attract new businesses and retain residents who need access to specialized medical services.
A national solution is imperative as courts have nullified liability reforms in at least 21 states. Meaningful reforms in H.R. 4280, such as reasonable limits on non-economic damages and contingent fees in medical liability cases, will bring a degree of predictability and fairness to the civil justice system that is critical to solving the growing medical access and affordability crisis.
H.R. 4280 ensures patients are wholly compensated for their injuries, while curbing excessive and unnecessary liability costs that are adversely impacting our health care system and communities. For these reasons, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will consider votes related to H.R. 4280 for inclusion in our annual "How They Voted" rankings.
R. Bruce Josten