H.R. 2603 and S. 1475, the “Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act” was earlier this week introduced by Congressman Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) This legislation will reform medical malpractice lawsuits by improving the quality of patient care by encouraging evidence-based medical care and protecting physicians from frivolous lawsuits. ATR supports this important legislation and urges all members of the US House and Senate to vote for and support this bill.

In today’s environment of patient care, physicians face constant fear of malpractice lawsuits. As a result, decisions are often based around shielding themselves from liability by ordering unnecessary tests and procedures. Over 75% of physicians have faced a malpractice claim over their career, which has added an estimated $70 to $126 billion per year in additional costs to the American healthcare system.

The Savings Lives, Saving Costs Act will implement several important reforms to lower healthcare costs, protect physicians from malpractice suits, and encourage the use of evidence based medical treatment. First, the legislation will grant increased protection to physicians who demonstrate they followed the best recommended practices. Second, this legislation increases the burden of proof for plaintiffs. Third, this legislation requires a mandatory pre-discovery independent medical review panel to look at any malpractice suit.

By implementing these important reforms, the Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act will help reduce the practice of physicians utilizing defensive medicine to protect themselves and instead allow them to treat patients solely using evidence-based medicine.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, reforming the medical liability system has the potential to save up to $66 billion over the next ten years and increase the quality of care to patients.

This important legislation will help reform the fear of lawsuits that all too often constrains physicians from providing quality, impartial care to patients. In the process it will lead to billions in savings and increase patient care. ATR endorses this important and common-sense legislation and urges all members of Congress to vote for it.