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House Committee on Ways and MeansHouse Committee on Energy and CommerceHealthIntroducedJuly 31st, 2009
- house Committees
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STAR Act of 2009
To reform the medical liability system, improve access to health care for rural and indigent patients, enhance access to affordable prescription drugs, and for other purposes.
Steps Toward Access and Reform Act of 2009 or the STAR Act of 2009 - Sets conditions for lawsuits arising from health care liability claims regarding health care goods or services or any medical product affecting interstate commerce. Sets a statute of limitations of three years after the date of manifestation of injury or one year after the claimant discovers the injury, with certain exceptions. Provides that nothing in this Act limits recovery of the full amount of available economic damages. Limits noneconomic damages to $250,000. Makes each party liable only for the amount of damages directly proportional to such party's percentage of responsibility. Allows the court to restrict the payment of attorney contingency fees. Limits the fees to a decreasing percentage based on the increasing value of the amount awarded. Allows the introduction of collateral source benefits and the amount paid to secure such benefits as evidence. Prohibits a provider of such benefits from recovering any amount from an award in a health care lawsuit involving injury or wrongful death. Authorizes the award of punitive damages only where: (1) it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a person acted with malicious intent to injure the claimant or deliberately failed to avoid unnecessary injury the claimant was substantially certain to suffer; and (2) compensatory damages are awarded. Limits punitive damages to the greater of two times the amount of economic damages or $250,000. Denies punitive damages in the case of products approved, cleared, or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or otherwise considered in compliance with FDA standards. Provides for periodic payments of future damages. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to carry out a program of loan forgiveness for primary health care providers who agree to provide medical services in medically underserved communities for a period of not less than four years. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow: (1) providers of medical care a bad debt tax deduction for up to 75% of their cost in providing uncompensated medical care to low-income individuals; and (2) a refund of excise tax on fuel used in mobile mammography vehicles; and (3) a tax deduction for the travel expenses of veterans and a family member to a medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Amends the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002 to include among the overall trade negotiating objectives of the United States avoiding negotiating trade agreements that could restrict, or be interpreted to restrict, the access of consumers in the United States to certain pharmaceutical imports. Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to authorize payment after January 1, 2010, for chest radiology services that use computer-aided detection technology for the early detection of lung cancer.