Aug 1, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Malpractice reform bill that passed House largely written by lobbyists

Cliff Owen / AP

A bill drastically reforming federal medical malpractice law — capping damages for plaintiffs and lowering fees for attorneys — passed the House last month with no hearings in a form nearly identical to a version drafted by the Physicians Insurers Association of America, a lobbyist group for doctors and their insurers, leading the group to publicly boast about its achievement, per the Washington Post.

Bills don't often move through a whole chamber of Congress without any edits, especially on such a complicated topic. Moreover, this bill didn't have any public hearings — a practice that some on the left argue is beneficial for lobbyists and special interest groups.

Why it matters: Lobbyists — and their influence — are a fact of life in Washington, impacting nearly every piece of legislation. However, the House's move to push through a far-reaching malpractice bill without any public input is unusual. The bill has languished in the Senate thus far and if it ever got a vote, it would be unlikely to get the 60 votes needed to pass.

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