Members of both the House and Senate have introduced tort reform bills in the House and the Senate, which would increase penalties for those who file meritous lawsuits in federal court.
The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2011 was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) in the House and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in the Senate. This bill would impose mandatory sanctions on lawyers including the payment of the defendant's attorney's fees and court costs. The bill reinstates stricter provisions and penalties which were reduced in 1993.
The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 was introduced in the House by Rep. Dave Scott (D-GA), Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA). This bill would impose a cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages awarded in malpractice cases and would lower premiums for malpractice insurance. Supporters of the bill say that it will reduce the ordering of unnecessary services by physicians practicing "defensive medicine." The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this bill would reduce the federal deficit by $40 billion between 2011 to 2021. It is predicted that while this bill has support to pass the Republican-dominated House, it will fail in the Senate.