Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement upon the Committee’s approval of theProtecting Access to Care Act  (H.R. 1215) by a vote of 18-17. The Protecting Access to Care Act reforms medical litigation laws in order to reduce the costly practice of defensive medicine, and save taxpayers billions of dollars while increasing access to healthcare.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Americans continue to be frustrated with the rising costs of healthcare, and look to their elected representatives in Washington to take action to counter the catastrophic effects of Obamacare. The Protecting Access to Care Act will help keep the rising costs of healthcare from being passed along to the American people. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the reforms contained in the bill would lower health care costs by tens of billions of dollars.”

Background: The Protecting Access to Care Act is modeled on California’sMedical Injury Compensation Reform Act (called MICRA), which has curbed California’s medical professional liability premiums.

MICRAs reforms, which are included in the Protecting Access to Care Act, include a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages; limits on the contingency fees lawyers can charge to maximize patient recovery; and a fair share rule, by which damages are allocated in direct proportion to fault.

The Protecting Access to Care Act does not limit in any way an award of economic damages to injured victims.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the Protecting Access to Care Act, premiums for medical malpractice insurance ultimately would be an average of 25% to 30% below what they would be under current law.