Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (03/22/2012)

Protecting Access to Healthcare Act - Title I: HEALTH Act - Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2012 - (Sec. 101) Sets forth provisions regulating lawsuits for health care liability claims concerning the provision of health care goods or services or any medical product affecting interstate commerce.

(Sec. 103) Sets a statute of limitations of three years after the date of manifestation of injury or one year after the claimant discovers the injury, with certain exceptions.

(Sec. 104) Limits noneconomic damages to $250,000. Makes each party liable only for the amount of damages directly proportional to such party's percentage of responsibility.

(Sec. 105) Allows the court to restrict the payment of attorney contingency fees. Limits the fees to a decreasing percentage based on the increasing value of the amount awarded.

(Sec. 106) Authorizes the award of punitive damages only where: (1) it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a person acted with malicious intent to injure the claimant or deliberately failed to avoid unnecessary injury the claimant was substantially certain to suffer, and (2) compensatory damages are awarded. Limits punitive damages to the greater of two times the amount of economic damages or $250,000.

Limits the liability of manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and providers of medical products that comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.

(Sec. 107) Provides for periodic payments of future damage awards.

(Sec. 110) Declares that this title does not: (1) preempt or supersede any state or federal law that imposes greater procedural or substantive protections for health care providers or health care organizations from liability, loss, or damages than those provided by this title; or (2) create a cause of action. Declares that this title shall not be construed to preempt: (1) any state law that specifies a particular monetary amount of compensatory or punitive damages that may be awarded in a health care lawsuit, or (2) any defense available to a party in a health care lawsuit under any other provision of state or federal law.

Title II: Repeal of Independent Payment Advisory Board - Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2012 - (Sec. 202) Repeals sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and restores provisions of law amended by such sections) related to the establishment of an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to develop and submit detailed proposals to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending.

Title III: Health Care Safety Net Enhancement - Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act of 2012 - (Sec. 302) Amends the Public Health Service Act to deem a hospital or an emergency department and a physician or physician group of such hospital or emergency department to be an employee of the Public Health Service for purposes of any civil action that may arise due to providing emergency and post-stabilization services on or after January 1, 2012.

Title IV: Restoring the Application of Antitrust Laws to Health Sector Insurers - Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act of 2012 - (Sec. 402) Provides that nothing in the McCarran-Ferguson Act shall modify, impair, or supersede the operation of any of the antitrust laws with respect to the business of health insurance. Applies prohibitions against using unfair methods of competition to the business of health insurance without regard to whether such business is carried on for profit.

Title V: Protections for Good Samaritan Health Professionals - Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2012 - (Sec. 502) Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide that a health care professional shall not be liable under federal or state law for harm caused by any act or omission if: (1) the professional is serving as a volunteer for purposes of responding to a disaster; and (2) the act or omission occurs during the period of the disaster, in the professional's capacity as such a volunteer, and in a good faith belief that the individual being treated is in need of health care services. Makes exceptions where: (1) the harm was caused by an act or omission constituting willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed; or (2) the professional rendered the health care services under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or an intoxicating drug.

Places on the plaintiff in any civil action or proceeding against a health care professional the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the limitation of liability under this title does not apply.