Polls Reveal Majority of Americans Against Limiting Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice & Nursing Home LawsuitsApril 17, 2017

Polls Reveal Majority of Americans Against Limiting Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice & Nursing Home Lawsuits

Public Policy Polling (PPP) recently released data from phone polls conducted in late March on the topic of H.R. 1215, a House bill that will be voted on in the next several weeks. H.R. 1215 seeks to limit non-economic damages to $250,000 in medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, prescription and OTC drug and medical device lawsuits. PPP asked the same set of questions to between 500-700 registered voters in 7 red (Republican) and purple states (those that have voted both Republican & Democratic in the past several elections). Polling only red & purple states was intentional, as Republicans have traditionally leaned towards tort reform, the act of limiting medical malpractice and nursing home abuse lawsuits in favor of protecting big corporations. PPP found that in the polled states of Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Alabama and Arizona, support for H.R. 1215 was virtually non-existent, with over 60% of polled citizens in every state disagreeing with the bill.

Even more impressive was the percentage of voters in each state that believed nursing homes should be held accountable if acts of negligence caused the injury or death of a loved one. The amount of support for nursing home abuse and negligence lawsuits was 77% at its lowest (Florida), and 86% at its highest (Georgia).

Finally, each state’s opposition to H.R. 1215 grew stronger as the person conducting the phone interview gave more information on the bill to voters.

Poll Results by State
The poll results for each state are as follows:

  1. Florida:
    • 63% against H.R. 1215
    • 77% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  2. Georgia:
    • 68% against H.R. 1215
    • 86% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  3. Pennsylvania:
    • 68% against H.R. 1215
    • 81% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  4. Texas:
    • 70% against H.R. 1215
    • 85% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  5. Utah:
    • 64% against H.R. 1215
    • 82% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  6. Alabama:
    • 63% oppose H.R. 1215
    • 81% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one
  7. Arizona:
    • 67% oppose H.R. 1215
    • 81% believed nursing homes should be held accountable for negligence/abuse of loved one

Lawmakers’ Re-Election Bids May Depend on H.R. 1215
If lawmakers haven’t paid attention to the constant stream of H.R. 1215 opposition voicemails and emails coming from their constituents, they may want to start. PPP’s survey found that regardless of political party affiliation, 58% of voters would be less likely to vote for the re-election of their representative if he or she supported the bill.

The bottom line here is that voters have simply reached a point where it has become inexcusable to continue to allow big businesses to get away with oversight, negligence, and greed at the expense of the American people. Whether Democrat or Republican, PPP’s data shows that voters refuse to buy into the idea that non-economic damages don’t encourage corporations, hospitals, and other healthcare-related businesses to be BETTER. In this era of profits above all else, awarding non-economic damages in line with the injustice incurred sends a message that we deserve more as patients, nursing home residents, and people.

Link to H.R.1215 – Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017

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