Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (03/22/2017)

Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017

This bill establishes provisions governing health care lawsuits where coverage for the care was provided or subsidized by the federal government, including through a subsidy or tax benefit.

(Sec. 2) The statute of limitations is three years after the injury or one year after the claimant discovers the injury, whichever occurs first. For a minor, the statute of limitations is three years after the injury, except for a minor under six years old, for whom it is three years after the injury, one year after discovery of the injury, or the minor's eighth birthday, whichever occurs later. These limitations are tolled under certain circumstances. These provisions do not preempt certain state laws.

(Sec. 3) Noneconomic damages are limited to $250,000, before accounting for reductions in damages required by law. Juries may not be informed of this limitation. Parties are liable for the amount of damages directly proportional to their responsibility. These provisions do not preempt state laws that specify a particular monetary amount of damages.

(Sec. 4) Courts must supervise the payment of damages and may restrict attorney contingent fees. The bill sets limits on contingent fees. The bill does not preempt state laws that specify a lesser percentage or value of damages that may be claimed by an attorney representing a claimant.

(Sec. 5) The bill provides for periodic payment of future damage awards. The bill does not preempt state laws that mandate periodic payments.

(Sec. 6) A health care provider who prescribes, or dispenses pursuant to a prescription, a medical product approved by the Food and Drug Administration may not be a party to a product liability lawsuit or a class action lawsuit regarding the medical product.

(Sec. 8) The bill does not preempt federal vaccine injury laws.

(Sec. 9) The bill preempts federal tort laws that provide for greater amounts of damages or contingent fees, a longer statute of limitations, or reduced applicability or scope of periodic payment of future damages.

(Sec. 10) The bill applies to health care lawsuits initiated after enactment. Lawsuits are governed by the statue of limitations applicable at the time of injury.