Medical Malpractice Damage Caps Possible in Florida: Is this Unconstitutional?

Thanks to new legislation, doctors who are worried about medical malpractice lawsuits could receive significant relief. While the legislation was approved by a House committee in February of 2017, it is not yet a law in place. If the movement is successful, injured patients may find it harder to acquire the money they deserve.

New Medical Malpractice Damage Caps

The legislation was recently approved with an 18 to 17 vote by the House Judiciary Committee. The goal is to cap damages that are paid by nursing homes, hospitals and doctors. It would cover anyone who is insured by military health plans, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare and may also impact those under health savings plans or COBRA.

Steve King, Iowa Republican Representative, introduced the measure and referred to airlines by saying they want to “throw blame out the window” after an accident and focus on how they can prevent it from happening again.

The Democratic Rebuttal

The statement above enraged several Democrats, who then accused King of favoring the economic interests of the health care providers over victims of medical malpractice. According to Ted Deutch, Florida Democratic Representative, the justice system works by casting blame.

The Pros of the Legislation

There are a few potential advantages offered by this legislation. For example, if doctors, hospitals, and other care providers were not worried about the cost of the mistake, they may be able to focus more on the patient and treatment. They will no longer have to worry about the potential of having to defend their professional decisions and reputations in the courtrooms.

The Cons of the Legislation

However, while that is a major advantage, there are also some disadvantages of this legislation. Not only does the legislation trample individual state’s rights, but it may also indirectly shield medical device makers and pharmaceutical companies that are selling dangerous products.

The Medical Malpractice Cap Debate

The topic of medical malpractice has been one that has divided Democrats and Republicans for years. The new legislation would not only cap non-economic damages but also give immunity to drug companies in situations where the patient was armed by prescriptions that were FDA approved.

Even though the bill is not going to limit the recovery of economic damages (the past and future medical costs, lost wages, etc.), it is written to cap any payment associated with a person’s pain and suffering to $250,000. This would affect those who aren’t in the workforce the most – children and the elderly.

According to Pramila Jayapal, Democratic Representative of Washington, the Supreme Court would have struck down this type of cap as being unconstitutional. King later stated that with this in place, health care providers could act irresponsibly to make more money and then get away with it.

While time will only tell if this is put into law, it is something that is being heavily debated.

If you have suffered an injury, damages or someone you love has passed away due to medical malpractice, contact the Badgley Law Group. The attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

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