Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's claim that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s proposed liability protection bill would prohibit all medical malpractice lawsuits until 2024 did not pass The Washington Post’s fact-checking “Pinocchio Test.”
The newspaper gave Schumer’s claim three Pinocchios.
Schumer made the comments during a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes.”
“You know what’s in this bill?” Schumer asked host Chris Hayes. “No medical malpractice suits till 2024, even if they’re not COVID-related.”
But the claim doesn’t pass the fact-checking test. The Post reports that Schumer’s claim was “overblown and mostly false.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the next relief package must include protection for businesses, schools and healthcare providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19.
He is proposing liability protections through the Safe to Work Act, which is co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
If enacted, the proposal would create a cause of action in the federal courts for plaintiffs who were harmed from catching the coronavirus at a school, college, charity, church, government agency or business. The defendants in these cases would only be held liable if they didn’t make reasonable efforts to follow public health guidelines and committed an act of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Schumer was referring to a part of the bill that would create a federal cause of action for medical malpractice cases involving coronavirus. A healthcare worker or facility would be held liable in court only for an act of gross negligence or intentional misconduct, as the bill is written.
Schumer said the bill would allow “no medical malpractice lawsuits until 2024, even if they’re not COVID-related.” The bill allows patients to sue — and win if they prove gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
A Schumer spokesman told the newspaper that the senator’s claim was accurate because the bill creates a loophole since providers facing litigation can just blame coronavirus.
But a Senate GOP spokesman disagreed, stating a healthcare provider being sued has to prove they were overburdened by the coronavirus.
“It isn’t enough for them to just ‘say’ it,” the Senate GOP spokesman told the Post. “That’s not how the American legal system works. Murder defendants don’t avoid trial by just saying, ‘I didn’t do it.’ Judges and juries decide those questions.”
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