Four hot-button issues Republicans will target next

House Republicans are setting a blistering pace to move new legislation to cut the size and scope of government. Here are four key measures to watch.

By , Staff writer

3. Medical liability reform

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    House Republicans want to limit financial awards in medical liability lawsuits, to curb 'defensive medicine.'
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House Republicans aim to quickly pass a law capping awards in medical liability lawsuits. The House Judiciary Committee on Friday held its first hearing on how tort reform could cut health-care costs by some $54 billion over the next 10 years by curbing the practice of defensive medicine.

“Because there are so many lawsuits, doctors are forced to conduct medical tests simply to avoid a possible lawsuit,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas, who chairs the panel. “Taxpayers pay for this wasteful defensive medicine, which adds to all our health-care costs without improving the quality of patient care.”

Democrats, backed by trial lawyers, say capping recoveries is unfair to people who are very seriously injured.

In the past, House GOP tort reform measures have either bogged down in the Senate or been vetoed by a Democrat in the White House. But President Obama has spoken about the need to curb defensive medicine. Republicans hope there is a basis for a compromise that will not draw a presidential veto.

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