U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman
For immediate release
Contact: Jeff Lungren/Terry Shawn
March 3, 2003
Judiciary Committee Hearing Tuesday on
Medical Liability Legislation
What: Legislative Hearing on H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act
Who: Full Committee - Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., R-Wis., Chairman
When: 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, 2003
Where: 2141 Rayburn Building
Americans’ access to health care is deteriorating and severely threatened in many states due to broken medical liability systems. Emergency rooms and trauma centers are closing their doors because of high insurance costs. Doctors and other health care providers are being forced to abandon patients and practices, particularly in high-risk specialties such as emergency medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. The House last year passed bipartisan medical liability reform legislation (the HEALTH Act) to address this crisis but the Senate refused to act.
Ms. Dyess’ husband Tony was in a serious car accident in Mississippi. The local hospital treating Mr. Dyess had no neurosurgeon on duty - many surgeons have stopped practicing in Mississippi because they cannot afford medical liability insurance. Six hours passed before Mr. Dyess was airlifted to a hospital that could help him. As a result, Mr. Dyess has suffered permanent brain damage, is mentally incompetent, and unable to care for himself.
This Legislation ...
~Will improve patients’ access to health care by reforming our medical liability systems.
~Will reduce health care costs - some have estimated “defensive medicine” practices cost well over $50 billion per year without improving medical care one bit.
~Is modeled after California’s successful 27-year-old law (MICRA) reforming its medical liability system.
WITNESSES: Dr. Donald J. Palmisano, President-elect, American Medical Association; Mr. Lawrence E. Smarr, President, Physician Insurers Assoc. Of America; Ms. Leanne Dyess, Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Health Care; Ms. Sherry Keller, Conyers, Ga.