Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 230-194 Thursday to pass H.R. 5, a bill that could put new limits on patients’ ability to seek damages for medical malpractice.[@@]
The bill, introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., would limit awards for non-economic “pain and suffering” to $250,000. The bill also would pre-empt state laws on punitive damages, allowing state laws to prevail only when plaintiffs can show clear and convincing evidence of malicious intent.
Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H, introduced the Senate version of the bill, S. 354, in February.
The House has approved similar bills in 2003 and 2004, but the bills never mustered enough support in the Senate to come up for votes there.
Senators gave H.R. 5 supporters some hope earlier this year by approving modest new limits on class-action suits.