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In Calling for Medical Liability Measure, House Republicans Ignore Real Problem

Statement of Christine Hines, Civil Justice Counsel, Public Citizen

WASHINGTON - In a draft resolution issued Tuesday, the incoming House Republican
leadership directed committees to approve legislation to replace the
health care law, including a mandate to “reform the medical liability
system.”

Predictably, the new Republican majority has resorted to its
oft-repeated mantra of calling for a federal law to restrict American
patients’ rights as a way to cut health care spending. In doing so, the
majority ignores evidence that such measures would not bring significant
savings and in fact would carry substantial costs. It also ignores the
real problem-a malpractice epidemic that kills and injures millions of
Americans and costs our health care system billions of dollars each
year.

The House Republican answer is for the government to continue
shelling out billions to cover the costs of unnecessary and preventable
medical errors, while the offenders are let off the hook and citizens
suffer.

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, eliminating avoidable medical errors could potentially save
$44 billion over 10 years. We call on the new Republican majority to try
something different for a change. If you really want to cut health care
spending, fix the patient safety crisis.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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