Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) and Senator John Barrasso (WY) today introduced the Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act. The legislation would allow physicians who can demonstrate they followed recommended best practices developed by the physician community to benefit from increased liability protection in the form of a legal safe harbor. By reducing the necessary practice of defensive medicine and increasing adherence to evidence-based medicine this legislation has the potential to help lower health care costs while improving the quality of care for patients.
“Frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits are forcing physicians to practice defensive medicine which drives up the cost of health care without improving outcomes for patients,” said Congressman Barr. “The liability climate is forcing many quality physicians out of the practice of medicine altogether, exacerbating an already chronic shortage of doctors which threatens access to health care in this country. By affording doctors who adhere to evidence-based best practice guidelines a legal safe harbor, the Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act will improve outcomes for patients, reduce health care costs and keep more good doctors in practice."
“As a doctor who’s taken care of people in Wyoming for decades, I’m always looking to make health care more affordable and accessible for American families,” said Senator Barrasso. “One step we can take right now is to support new and innovative ways to lower malpractice costs. We’ve seen how defensive medicine significantly raises the cost of health care. Representative Barr and I have teamed up on legislation that will help reform the broken malpractice system in our country. Our bill takes a reasonable approach that will protect patients and allow medical professionals to spend more time focusing on practicing medicine—and less time in the courtroom.”
Today, more than 75 percent of physicians face a malpractice claim over the course of their career. This liability climate drives the care that physicians provide, encourages overutilization and adds an estimated $70 to $126 billion in health costs each year without improving outcomes.