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Malpractice Bill Ready for Full House

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, May 13, 2011

The ABA also opposed the preemption state laws providing for joint and several liability in medical malpractice cases; imposing a sliding scale for contingency fees; and the elimination of the collateral source rule, which bars evidence that a plaintiff has received health insurance proceeds or other benefits from a third party.

The National Conference of State Legislatures expressed its opposition to what it views as a federal takeover of what has long been a state issue. In an April letter to the energy committee, William Horne, chair of the NCSL, said, "Federal medical malpractice legislation inappropriately seeks to preempt various areas of state law. All 50 states have statutes of limitations for medical malpractice suits. All 50 states have rules of civil procedure governing the admissibility of evidence and the use of expert witnesses. Many states have caps on noneconomic damages and limitations on attorney’s fees in medical malpractice cases. The adoption of a one-size-fits-all approach to medical malpractice envisioned in H.R. 5 and other related measures would undermine that diversity and disregard factors unique to each particular state."

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