In the 109th Congress, my colleagues in the House of Representatives and I have worked to expand health care coverage to more Americans and to improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden that malpractice liability lawsuits place on the health care delivery system.
On July 26, 2005, I voted to give small businesses bargaining power with health care providers, and H.R. 525, the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2005, passed the House by a vote of 263-165. Currently, more than 60% of the over 45 million uninsured Americans either work in a small business or are dependent on a small business worker. This legislation will help reduce the high cost of health insurance for small businesses and uninsured working families by creating association health plans (AHPs). This legislation also provides affordable health care to the uninsured while preventing employers who provide health benefits to their employees from dropping their coverage because of rising premiums.
Additionally, due to runaway jury awards and increasing malpractice premiums, physicians are being forced to retire early or stop providing care altogether. Those physicians who try to keep their doors open feel burdened to practice defensive medicine, driving up the cost of health care for all patients. That is why, on July 28, 2005, I voted to end the medical malpractice lottery lawsuit system, and H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act of 2005, passed by recorded vote of 230-194. Specifically, this legislation limits non-economic damages (pain and suffering) to make the punishment fit the offense and limits unquantifiable non-economic damages to $250,000 but does NOT cap punitive damages.
Both pieces of legislation are now under the consideration of the U.S. Senate, and it is my hopes that my colleagues in the Senate will follow the lead of the House of Representatives and work to expand health care coverage and reduce the cost of health care for the citizens of Western North Carolina.
House Ways and Means Committee
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education
U.S. House Vote Follows Rep. Taylor’s Lead
Rep. Taylor Secures Funds for Community Wellness Center
Rep. Taylor Presents Check for Improvements at Pardee Hospital
Rep. Taylor Pledges Funds for Children’s Outpatient Center for Mission Hospital