GOP bill would make medical malpractice suits harder to win

House Republicans have drafted a bill as part of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act that would make it more difficult for low-income people and older Americans to win lawsuits for injuries caused by medical malpractice or defective drugs or medical devices.

House Republicans have drafted a bill as part of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act that would make it more difficult for low-income people and older Americans to win lawsuits for injuries caused by medical malpractice or defective drugs or medical devices. The measure would impose new limits on lawsuits involving care covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance subsidized by the Affordable Care Act. The limits would apply to some product liability claims, as well as to medical malpractice lawsuits involving doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by almost $50 billion over 10 years. The bill would set a $250,000 limit on "noneconomic damages," which include compensation for pain and suffering, though states could set different limits. The bill says that a doctor who prescribes a drug or medical device "approved, licensed or cleared by FDA" may not be named in a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller of the product. The bill provides similar protection for pharmacists who fill prescriptions. The bill would restrict contingency fees that lawyers can charge for representing plaintiffs in health care lawsuits.