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Federal Legislative Activities

The AMA strongly supports comprehensive medical liability reform (MLR), including reasonable limits on non-economic damages similar to successful reforms in California and Texas.

The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (ACA) included multiple provisions concerning the establishment and implementation of national care and practice standards and guidelines for health care providers, with potential for new causes of legal action against physicians. The AMA believes physicians should not have to worry about potential new causes of action or liability exposure in their attempts to develop new ways to improve the quality and efficiencies of care.

On April 10, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who has long been a proponent for MLR, introduced H.R. 1473, the "Standard of Care Protection Act of 2013." The Senate companion bill S. 1769 was introduced by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on November 21, 2013. This legislation would clarify that the care standards and guidelines specified in the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid statutes cannot be used to create new causes of legal action against physicians providing care to patients. In addition, it would preserve state medical liability laws. AMA supports H.R. 1473 and S. 1769.

In addition, the AMA supports H.R. 1733, the “Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2013,” which was introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on April 25, 2013. Its Senate companion bill S. 2196, the “Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2014” was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on April 1, 2014. This legislation would help ensure that needed medical volunteers are not turned away due to confusion and uncertainty about the application of Good Samaritan laws, as was the case in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

AMA statements and testimony before Congress in support of federal medical liability reforms
Medical Liability Reform - NOW!

AMA Medical Liability Reform - NOW! Flyer

AMA Medical Liability Reform - NOW!
Compendium of research and advocacy information on medical liability reform

Historical Legislative Activities

Letter to Rep. Marsha Blackburn supporting H.R. 1733, the “Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2013,” April 7, 2014

Letter to Sen. Lisa Murkowski supporting S. 2196, the “Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2014,” April 7, 2014

Letter to Sen. Pat Toomey supporting S. 1769, the “Standard of Care Protection Act,” November 27, 2013

Letter to Rep. Phil Gingrey supporting H.R. 1473, the “Standard of Care Protection Act of 2013,” April 11, 2013

Sign-on letter supporting the Stearns/Matheson "Good Samaritan" amendment to H.R. 5, March 21, 2012

Letter to all Members of the House regarding H.R. 5, PATH Act, the combined IPAB Repeal and Medical Liability Reform bill," March 20, 2012

Sign-on letter to Sen. Murray, Super Committee, urging MLR as part of deficit reduction, October 3, 2011

Sign-on letter to Rep. Hensarling, Super Committee, urging MLR as part of deficit reduction, October 3, 2011

American Tort Reform Association paper on the constitutionality of H.R. 5

We all pay the price for our broken medical liability system

Summary of H.R. 5, the "Help, Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011

AMA letter in support of S. 1099, Senate companion bill to H.R. 5, June 14, 2011

AMA letter to House Energy and Commerce re: H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act, May 10, 2011

Sign-on letter of support for H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act, January 25, 2011

AMA letter of support for H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act, January 24, 2011

AMA letter to Chairman Smith supporting H.R. 5, the "HEALTH Act of 2011," January 24, 2011

Letter to Rep. Tim Murphy supporting H.R. 1745, the Family Health Care Accessibility Act of 2010, November 15, 2010

Letter to Treasury Secy Geithner re: Trail Attorney Contingency Fee Special Tax Deduction, September 1, 2010

Letter to Rep. Gingrey supporting introduction of H.R. 5690, the Meaningful End to Defensive Medicine & Aimless Lawsuits (MedMal) Act of 2010

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and included several medical liability reform provisions

Letter to Speaker Pelosi regarding meaningful Medical Liability Reform in HSR, October 2, 2009

MLR Sign-on letter to President Obama, September 16, 2009

MLR Sign-On letter to Chairman Waxman, July 16, 2009

Federal Regulatory Activities

In December 2010, HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced new grant opportunities for medical liability and patient safety initiatives. Read more about AHRQ Medical Liability/Patient Safety Grants.

On September 17, 2009, President Obama directed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to launch a new medical liability grant project. The project provides financial incentives to states and health care systems to test models that meet four goals: 1) put patient safety first and work to reduce preventable injuries; 2) foster better communication between doctors and patients; 3) ensure that patients are compensated in a fair and timely manner for medical injuries, while also reducing the incidence of frivolous lawsuits; and 4) reduce liability premiums.

On June 11, 2010, HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), charged with implementing the grant program, announced the grant recipients. Read more about the recipients and liability reform models.