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For Immediate Release

National Consumer Organizations
Contact

Joanne Doroshow, Andy Hoffman
Center for Justice & Democracy
212/267-2801; joanned@centerjd.org

Press Release

Eleven National Consumer Organizations Send Letter Strongly Opposing Medical Malpractice Limits in the Health Care Bill

NEW YORK -

Eleven national consumer and public interest groups whose memberships
represent many millions of Americans sent a letter today to House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging rejection of any amendments or substitutes
to the House health care bill that would limit the legal rights of
patients injured by medical malpractice.

The groups signing the letter are: Alliance for Justice, Center for
Justice & Democracy, Center for Medical Consumers, Consumer
Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, National Consumers League,
National Research Center for Women & Families, National Women's
Health Network, NCCNHR: The National Consumer Voice for Quality
Long-Term Care, Public Citizen and USAction.

The letter states, "Medical malpractice is at epidemic levels in this
country. The Institute of Medicine has estimated that up to 98,000
people die every year from medical errors in America's hospitals.
Diminishing medical providers' accountability for wrongful acts
conflicts with Congress's stated intent to provide affordable and
quality health care to Americans. Congress should focus on improving
patient safety and reducing deaths and injuries, not insulating
negligent providers from accountability and saddling taxpayers with the
cost."

In addition to measures that would improve patient safety, the groups
support repeal of the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption under
the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The letter concludes, "Health care reform
cannot be accomplished by taking away the legal rights of patients who
are injured through no fault of their own, or reducing the
accountability of those who commit wrongdoing. We urge the House to
reject any amendments or substitutes that limit patients' legal rights."

A copy of the letter can be found here: http://centerjd.org/archives/press/2009/ConsumerLtrHouseFloorF.pdf

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