Republicans consider limits on medical malpractice lawsuits as alternative to Obamacare

Republicans have strongly criticized President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but they have struggled to articulate a common alternative vision for health care. While House Republicans have voted to repeal Obamacare more than 40 times, there has been less unity on proposals that replace it.

One proposal involves new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana, is one of several Republicans pushing for the proposed legislation, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, place new restrictions on medical malpractice suits and provide more access to health savings accounts.

However, some Republicans oppose the concept of a big healthcare bill that would make sweeping changes. Instead, they propose a targeted approach with smaller bills that would make limited changes within Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act sets minimum standards for health insurance coverage. It requires most Americans to purchase health insurance and provides subsidies for low-income people to get coverage. Opponents have criticized the legislation as government interference in the marketplace.

Many states have passed legislation limiting the amount of non-economic damages, such as those for pain and suffering, that can be recovered in lawsuits over medical malpractice. In other states, including Illinois, such limits have been ruled unconstitutional. At the federal level, the Supreme Court has ruled that punitive damages in any lawsuit may not exceed compensatory damages by a ratio of more than nine to one.

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