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House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes” per side
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 5 - Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (Rep. Gingrey - Energy and Commerce/Judiciary/Ways and Means/Rules)  (One Hour of debate) The bill repeals provisions of the Affordable Care Act relating to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and makes several changes to current law affecting medical malpractice lawsuits. 

The measure caps compensatory damages, establishes a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice suits and limits attorney compensation in health care lawsuits. In addition, the legislation repeals IPAB, the 15-person board tasked with making cost-cutting recommendations if Medicare spending exceeds target growth rates. The board’s savings recommendations – which cannot include rationing, premium increases or benefit cuts – take effect unless the House and Senate override them by clearing legislation to achieve equivalent savings. CBO projects that, due in part to the Affordable Care Act’s role in slowing Medicare’s growth rate, the IPAB will not be triggered during this budget window. 

The bill makes it more difficult for victims of medical malpractice to receive just compensation, undermines the Medicare guarantee and does nothing to create jobs.  This bill represents yet another attempt by Republicans to abandon any attempt to work with Democrats to create jobs and reduce the deficit. And, like the Republican targeting of federal employees, the bill singles out a very small subset of Americans – in this case victims of medical malpractice – to shoulder the burden while the wealthiest among us are not asked to contribute their fair share. Members are urged to VOTE NO on H.R. 5.

The Rule makes in order 6 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  The amendments are:

Rep. Woodall Amendment. Would strike the findings in Title I
Rep. Bonamici Amendment.
Would delay the date of enactment until the Secretary of Health and Human Services submits to Congress a report on the potential effect of Title I on health care premiums
Rep. Hastings (FL) Amendment.
Would strike Title II (Repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board)
Rep. Dent/Rep. Sessions Amendment.
Would address the crisis in access to emergency care by extending liability coverage to on-call and emergency room physicians under the Public Health Service Act
Rep. Gosar Amendment.
Would restore the application of antitrust laws to the business of health insurance by amending the McCarran-Ferguson Act
Rep. Stearns/Rep. Matheson Amendment.
Would grant limited civil liability protection to health professionals that volunteer at federally declared disaster sites

Bill Text for H.R. 5:
PDF Version
Background for H.R. 5:
House Report (HTML Version)

The Daily Quote

“It is hard to have confidence that our long-term fiscal challenges will be met responsibly when the same Congress that passed the Budget Control Act wants to ignore it less than one year later.”

-   President of Club for Growth and former Congressman Chris Chocola (R-IN),  3/21/12