House Dem joins GOP on 'replacement' priority

Republicans have positioned medical practice reform as a significant way to reduce costs in the healthcare system. Last week, chairmen of House panels tasked with replacing the healthcare reform law pointed to an October 2009 Congressional Budget Office estimate that said tort reform would save the federal government $54 billion over 10 years. 

“That’s a huge chunk right there,” House Education and Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) said last week.

However, Democrats are largely opposed to tort reform, which was excluded from the sweeping healthcare overhaul enacted last year. 

The American Association for Justice, which represents the nation's trial lawyers, came out strongly against the bill on Monday.

“This bill is a cruel joke to the 98,000 people who die every year from preventable medical errors, and the countless more that are injured," the group said. "Eliminating any incentive for health care providers to focus on safety and reduce errors will do nothing to improve our nation’s health care system.”

This story was updated at 7:05 p.m. with comments from the AAJ.