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

Friday, November 6, 2009 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 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.

SOURCE Center for Justice & Democracy
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