U.S. House passes cap on victims of medical negligence

Would also grant protections to negligent HMOs,
nursing homes, and drug and medical device companies

(5/19/2004) - Public Citizen, a national consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., reports that that for the second time in 14 months, the U.S. House of Representatives have passed a bill limiting damages to victims in medical malpractice cases. According to Public Citizen, the vote, which took place on May 12, was 229-197, and largely along party lines -- a net gain of one NO vote over the prior vote.

According to Public Citizen, this bill, identical to H.R. 5 passed 14 months earlier, would impose a one-size-fits-all $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages resulting from paralysis, brain damage and disfigurement; immunize health providers from punitive damages for reckless conduct; and penalize injured patients by allowing defendants to pay damages in installments. H.R. 4280 would not only protect doctors and hospitals, but also HMOs, nursing homes, and drug and medical device companies, according to Public Citizen.