H.R. 1215 And Its Potential Impact on Medical Malpractice Victims

Medical malpractice is a complicated subject. Things like caps, statutes of limitations, and liability make it even more frustrating. A new bill proposed in congress, H.R. 1215, further complicates the matter.

H.R. 1215, which is sponsored by Representative Steve King of Iowa, is also called the Protecting Access to Care Act. It “establishes provisions governing health care lawsuits where coverage for the care was provided or subsidized by the federal government, including through a subsidiary or tax benefit.” By doing this, the bill also seeks to “improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system.”

Like other parts of the the Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), H.R. 1215 aims to decrease the federal role in the health care system. For those who oppose the provisions of the ACA, H.R. 1215 is probably proposing a welcome change. But for victims of medical malpractice, H.R. 1215 might raise concerns.

The Provisions of H.R. 1215

For starters, the bill proposes a cap on compensation for non-economic injuries. Unlike medical bills or lost wages, certain consequences of an accident, like pain and suffering or loss of companionship, cannot be quantified in a dollar amount. The cap, set at $250,000, attempts to put on a dollar amount on these damages. However, many people argue that caps actually hurt injured victims, as it prevents them from seeking the full compensation they deserve.

H.R. 1215 also calls for a federally-mandated statute of limitations, or the set amount of time in which a person can sue for their injuries. This time limit varies from state-to-state, but a federally-mandated law would likely be more restrictive than state laws.

Other provisions of H.R. 1215 include:

  • Federal repeal of state joint and liability laws, which means that injured patients would be responsible for the cost of an injury if the responsible party cannot afford to pay
  • A federally-mandated ban on including a hospital, nursing home, or health care provider in a case against a drug company over a defective drug
  • A federally-mandated prohibition against a severely-injured patient receiving a full jury award in a lump sum

The bill also calls for stricter supervision of attorney fees and damages payments.

The Impact on Medical Malpractice Victims

H.R. 1215 is particularly complex because it applies so heavily to medical malpractice victims. In the United States, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death. Medical malpractice can include anything from traumatic birth injuries to nursing home neglect, as well as victims of defective medications or medical products. All victims, if their injuries or death resulted from a medical provider’s inadequacy or negligence, deserve fair compensation.

To read the full text of H.R. 1215, visit Congress.gov.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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