Is Workers Comp Next For Federalization?
The Federalization of malpractice makes one think that Workers Comp is the next step. Federal medical malpractice reform hit the insurance airwaves very heavily last week. The bill is named HR5 – “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011.”
The bill sharply limits all civil suits against health care providers, including nursing homes, hospitals, and insurance companies. If this is not the federalization of insurance, I must have missed something. It even says insurance companies would have a limit on the amount of the lawsuit.
I have written often about the high probability of at least a partial federalization of Workers Comp insurance. HR5 seems to be another step in that direction. The nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) has informed Congress of its “strong, bipartisan opposition” to the enactment of H.R. 5″. A letter was written to the House subcommittee to voice strong bi-partisan opposition to enacting the bill. You can see the letter here.
The excerpts are:
Medical malpractice, product liability and other areas of tort reform are areas of law that have been traditionally and successfully regulated by the states. Since the country’s inception, states have addressed the myriad of substantive and regulatory issues regarding licensure, insurance, court procedures, victim compensation, civil liability, medical records and related matters. In the past two decades, all states have explored various aspects of medical malpractice and products liability and chosen various means for remedying identified problems. Over the past several years, states have continued to revise and refine their medical malpractice laws and procedures…
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…
NCSL’s opposition will extend to any bill or amendment that directly or indirectly preempts any state law governing the awarding of damages by mandatory, uniform amounts or the awarding of attorney’s fees. Our opposition also extends to any provision affecting the drafting of pleadings, the introduction of evidence and statutes of limitations. Furthermore, NCSL opposes any federal legislation that would undermine the capacity of aggrieved parties to seek full and fair redress in state courts for physical harm done to them due to the negligence of others.”
I think the NCSL is saying what we will be commenting on in reference to Workers Compensation in the future. I have underlined what sounds very similar to Workers Compensation. Even the State Legislators are concerned on a bi-partisan basis about the reach of Federal legislation.
I will keep posting articles when I see one that seems to be a step towards insurance Federalization. Thanks to 7th Amendment Advocate for their assistance.
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