Note: The following three issues discuss positions and bill
sponsorships taken by Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation
that may be of interest to PAHU members.
- TORT (MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CAPS)
5 would cap non-economic medical malpractice awards at $
point to the need to curb the excessive trial awards that have
driven up the cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance so that
doctors are forced leave the state or give up their practices.
In addition, proponents cite the need for actuarial
predictability in rating Med Mal.
Proponents further argue that the medical malpractice
climate of fear leads doctors to overutilize the system in
performing diagnostic tests that drive up the cost of health
question the arbitrary nature of the cap, saying that human life
is not to be valued arbitrarily and say that juries should not
be curbed since the little guy needs to have the ability to
persuade a jury since big money interests of medicine and
insurance can outgun him or her in the legal environment.
CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION: PA
Rep. Jim Greenwood is the prime sponsor of this tort reform
through HR 5, a bill that has already passed the House.
Other PA sponsors are: Melissa Hart, Tim Holden, John
Murtha, Tim Murphy, John Peterson, Joe Pitts, Todd Platts, and
Pat Toomey. Holden
and Murtha are Democrats. The
others are Republicans.
House vote was 229-196 for HR 5.
In Pennsylvania it was mostly a party line vote with
Republicans voting for caps with two notable exceptions.
Democratic Rep. John Murtha and Tim Holden voted for tort
Democrats such as Mike Doyle do not oppose caps absolutely but
believe that the $ 250,000 figure is too low.
the Senate, Sen. Rick Santorum supports caps while Senator Arlen
Specter does not support HR 5 in its present form.
660 establishes Association Health Plans (AHPs) as a hybrid
health program that would be regulated by the US Department of
Labor in similar fashion to MEWA’s.
Proponents feel it would reduce health premiums for small
businesses because it waives some of the costlier state
Opponents disagree, saying that states are better suited
to regulate health insurance and that bogus AHPs would create a
small business nightmare.
Additionally, they maintain that AHPs distort the playing
field away from other health insurance programs and (because of
cherry picking) increase the cost of insurance for everyone
There is also major concern over solvency and federal
Because of backing by President Bush, House
leadership, and NFIB, most Republicans back this approach.
PA sponsors of HR 660 include Melissa Hart, John
Peterson, Todd Platts, Bill Shuster, Curt Weldon, Phil English,
Jim Greenwood, Joe Pitts, and Pat Toomey.
All are Republicans.
the 262-162 House vote to pass this legislation, the count of
the PA delegation was 12-8 on a party line vote with Republicans
supporting HR 660 and Democrats voting against.
the Senate, a comparable bill, S. 545, lists PA Sen. Arlen
Specter as a sponsor.
Sen. Santorum is reputed to also support the concept of
1406 would remove the Waxman Amendment and permit PA to
establish its own Long-Term Care Partnership program.
Goal is to have people utilize their own long-term care
policy before tapping into Medicaid (taxpayer paid) program.
the bill’s 32 sponsors, ten are from Pennsylvania. This underscores PAHU’s advocacy in raising this issue to
the national consciousness.
John Peterson is the prime sponsor and his bill (HR 1406) has a
majority of the PA delegation already having signed on.
Sponsors include: Pat Toomey, Joe Hoeffel, Phil English,
Melissa Hart, John Murtha, Jim Gerlach, Bill Shuster, Jim
Greenwood, Joe Pitts, Todd Platts, and Tim Murphy.
Tim Holden indicated an interest in the bill and may also
the U.S. Senate, Sen. Rick Santorum is a sponsor of comparable