Medical Malpractice a Liability For Doctors and Patients

North Carolina hospitals have experienced medical liability insurance premiums increasing from 400 to 500 percent for the past 3 years, with small rural hospitals experiencing the greatest increases.

According to two recent studies, North Carolina's nursing homes are experiencing a tremendous increase in their medical liability premiums. Premiums for some nursing homes in North Carolina have skyrocketed by as much as 1,800 percent since 1995. But some in this institution suggest there is not a liability crisis in health care in America.

Next week, people will come to the floor of the Senate and they will, in an incredible way, suggest there is not a crisis in America. I want those in the Chamber today to remember next week not just the doctors who say there is a crisis, and it is real, but to remember the patients out there who are directly affected by our inability to solve this problem. They are the ones for which the safety net is supposed to be there to protect them. But the safety net only works if the infrastructure is there. This is not about cost by itself today. This is about access. And when access goes away, our ability to address it with a safety net is gone.

A Challenge to The President

I call on the President to use his authority and issue a challenge to America - tell us what you think we can do to increase fuel economy in the next 10 years that can help compensate for the shameful neglect Republicans have given this issue over the past 10 years. Give us your proposal. Pick a number, Mr. President. Don't duck and don't pass the buck. Pick a number. We are not missing Presidential authority on fuel economy standards - we are missing Presidential leadership.

April Job Numbers Show "Bush Economic Boom"

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) touted the Department of Labor announcement that 138,000 jobs were created in the month of April. Boehner also discussed the need to extend the tax cuts passed in 2003.
With more than two million new job opportunities in the last year alone, low unemployment, and high consumer confidence, the resiliency of our strong and growing economy continues to defy Democrat critics desperate for bad news.

House Republicans will build on our economic progress by extending the tax cuts that have refueled and rejuvenated our economy, securing America's energy future and addressing high gasoline prices, and ensuring that working families have access to affordable health care. The last thing the American people need right now is a massive tax increase that Capitol Hill Democrats have in store for working families.


DHS Not Honest On Security Matters

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asserted that the Department of Homeland Security has not been honest on port security matters during a press briefing today.

Q I'm sure you've heard, the Homeland Security Department would say that they do screen 100 percent, they don't inspect 100 percent of the cargo.

REP. PELOSI: That's not even true. The Department of Homeland Security doesn't screen 100 percent. We want this initiative to be 100 percent, and not on our shores. We don't want these containers coming into our waterways even before they reach a port, to not be screened.
But it is -- but that is simply not true. They screen at most 6 percent.

Q They say they inspect 6 percent, but they screen more -- they inspect the high risk --
REP. PELOSI: They're not telling you the truth. They haven't been honest with the American people about their safety. They're a department in disarray. Whether it's about public safety or public health, we have a problem. Democrats have a better way, and Republicans are today missing an opportunity to do what's right.


Real Security Begins at The Gas Pump

To improve real national security, we must improve our energy security. My amendment to the Defense authorization bill, which was defeated in committee yesterday, would have taken two steps in that direction by boosting funds for advanced power technologies and for alternative fuel infrastructure at military bases. As the single largest buyer of fuel in the U.S., the Defense Department has an opportunity, even an obligation to lead the way in diversifying our energy portfolio. And no time could be better than the present. America's addiction to oil from any source means that our security is vulnerable and will continue to be until we have the vision to look beyond the gas pump.


Call For Vote on Stem Cell Bill During Health Week

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called for vote on legislation calling for consideration of a stem cell bill which passed in the House last year. He also criticized Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) for not honoring his pledge to bring the House bill to the Senate floor for a vote.
But one obstacle stands in the way: The Senate has squandered almost an entire year waiting for Majority Leader Bill Frist to make good on his pledge to bring HR 810 to the floor for a vote. The Hippocratic Oath says, "First, do no harm." But, while suffering people are desperate for this research, Dr. Frist has refused to act. Next week has been designated as "health week" in the Senate. It is hard to believe that the Senate would consider a series of health bills next week without being allowed a vote to support stem-cell research. But that appears to be exactly what Senator Frist has in mind.


We Are Not Prepared To Deal With a Pandemic

The President's Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan shatters our false sense of security that American society is no longer suseptible to infection on a pandemic scope. In fact, this is a very real threat, and we are not prepared to deal with a pandemic. The report clearly illuminates the fact that America currently does not have the ability to produce and maufacture the vaccines and antivirals necessary to treat the American public if a flu pandemic occurred. We need to create incentives for companies to invest in the research and development of new drugs to treat other newly emerging infectious diseases. Developing new antibmicrobial drugs and vaccines is risky and expensive -- and companies aren't doing enough of it. We need to create a favorable economic climate for these important investments in public health.

Help Small Business Owners With Staff Health Coverage

Our bill, S.1955, will give working families and small business owners the same bargaining power that big businesses use to negotiate with insurance companies for the benefits they want, at prices they can afford. If Small Business Health Plans can harness the power of America’s small business owners, it will force the entire marketplace to respond. And if we transform health insurance to a market where small employers and family-owned businesses can demand better benefits at better prices, insurance companies will be forced either to keep up with the competition or lose their market share.

Congressional GOP Must Correct One of Their Worst Decisions

Of all the Republicans' misguided policies regarding the Medicare prescription drug plan, their refusal to extend the enrollment deadline is one of the worst. From the onset, the enrollment procedures have been confusing and frustrating to America's seniors. This fact has been underscored by a newly released Government Accountability Office report that found that seniors have been receiving inadequate and incorrect information from Medicare Hotline operators. Each senior's decision will affect their health and their pocketbook, and Democrats have argued for months that Republicans must give them more time to figure out what works best for them. With the deadline now only days away, Democrats will continue to pressure the President and Congressional Republicans to agree to an extension that is appropriate and necessary.

Longer Statement: http://www.hoyer.house.gov/newsroom/index.asp?ID=614&DocumentType=Pres

A Great Step In Getting Ready for Bird Flu

On May 3, the White House released the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, which includes over 300 actions for Federal agencies and other entities to take. As a doctor, I believe that the plan is a great step towards ensuring a timely and appropriate pandemic influenza response at the federal level as well as providing clearer guidance to state and local communities on further needed preparedness efforts.