Update: House Pulls Tort Reform Bill that Tramples Principles of Constitution
Congressional Tort Reform Legislation Tramples Principles of Constitution
Update: CASE reported earlier this month that the GOP-led House was considering a bill, H.R. 1215, that would give the federal government sweeping powers to interfere with the laws and court systems of the 50 states. To stop this from happening, CASE joined a strong coalition of pro-Constitution organizations to make Congress reconsider.
We are happy to report that Congress HEARD US, and decided to pull this bill based on the concerns we raised regarding the legislation’s undermining of key Constitutional principles of limited government and the threats it posed to consumers’ freedom of choice. The coalition letter can be found here, followed by our original statement below. Let’s make sure Congress continues to hear us, as CASE will respond swiftly and forcefully should this legislation every be attempted again!
Original Statement from CASE:
(Arlington, Virginia) — Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE) today issued the following statement in opposition to H.R. 1215, the deceptively titled Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, which aims to empower Congress to override state laws and set limits for medical malpractice lawsuits:
“Tort reform is a potent antidote to help relieve the ever-spiraling costs of health insurance and medical care for America’s consumers, but an entirely inappropriate arena for Congressional intervention.
“A healthy respect and appreciation for the limits of federal authority as enshrined in our Constitution’s 10th Amendment dictate that, barring a clear enumeration of federal authority, Congress must not meddle in state affairs. H.R. 1215 clearly violates this foundational principle of our national framework of limited national powers and federalism, and for this reason must be rejected.
“Meaningful tort reform has been enacted through the wisdom and judgment of the people of 30 states currently, while more than a dozen others have prohibited limits on malpractice lawsuits as a matter of legal right. It is the height of arrogance for Washington to substitute its uniform judgment for the will of the people within our 50 states who have distinct interests, regional differences and priorities, just as the Founders of this nation anticipated they would.
“What concerns us further is that once Congress has established its authority to meddle in the legal systems through this legislation, future sessions of that body will seize upon this power in ways highly unfavorable to current leadership. In either instance, the will of the people within the states to control under which type of government they wish to live will be controlled by the winds of politics, not by the citizens of the state in which they live.
“We urge Speaker Ryan and House leadership to abandon H.R. 1215 and its attempt to usurp the will of the people and rob citizens of the various states of their freedom of choice. Government serves its people best when power is exercised closest to home as possible, not from a one-size-fits-all dictate from Washington. Tort reform, and control of our state legal systems, must remain with the individual states themselves, not Congress.”
CASE is further a co-signer of a coalition letter from a wide sector of non-partisan groups that urges Speaker Ryan to defeat H.R. 1215. The letter can be read here.