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U.S. House panel backs medical malpractice reform bill


WASHINGTON—A U.S. House committee has approved legislation that would reform medical malpractice law.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 30-20 Wednesday to approve the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Care Act. H.R. 5 would limit noneconomic damages in medical malpractice awards to $250,000.

It also would limit punitive damages in medical malpractice awards to twice the economic damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.

The bill would set up a sliding scale for attorney contingency fees and permit the introduction of evidence of collateral-source benefits, such as Medicare or Medicaid, in malpractice cases to prevent double recovery.

The House Judiciary Committee approved its version of the measure in February.

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