The House of Representatives is currently considering a bill called H.R.5, otherwise known as the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act.” Though the House likes to call it that, this bill will do anything but help the country’s healthcare situation. While the House vowed, after voting to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, that it would work towards a viable healthcare alternative for the nation, this bill is anything but.
Despite its deceiving name, the HEALTH bill is actually designed to destroy patients’ legal rights—not to improve access to health care or cut down health care costs. The bill would use federal preemption to override patients’ access to their state legal systems, so that in the event they are injured due to a medical error, there would be severe restrictions on what they could legally do about it. In many cases, this means that valid malpractice lawsuits won’t be allowed.
As the president of the American Association for Justice has noted,
This comes at a time when the last thing we need is less accountability. A study released last month found that one out of every three hospital patients encounters a medical error. Previously, the Institute of Medicine found that as many as 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, the sixth leading cause of death in America and the equivalent of two 737s crashing every day for a year. –Gibson Vance
If this weren’t enough, the House is attempting to justify the constitutionality of the HEALTH Act with the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Of course, opponents of President Obama’s health care legislation (the same people who want to pass the HEALTH Act) have argued that this very same clause cannot and should not be used to justify federal intervention into the health care system. This is a glaring case of the pot calling the kettle black.
The HEALTH Act would bring anything but better health to the nation. Please speak out against this unfair and damaging bill before it’s too late and your rights have been pulled out from underneath you.