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Frontiers of Freedom Opposes the Federalization of State Tort Law

Frontiers of Freedom released the following statement:

Frontiers of Freedom opposes the federal government placing caps on medical malpractice damages.  H.R. 1215, entitled the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, is at its core a federal power grab — making what has always been a matter of state law, a federal matter.

Frontiers of Freedom signed a coalition letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, outlining the groups’ opposition to H.R. 1215.  That letter can be found here.

Our system of constitutional federalism envisioned a dynamic arrangement where states acted as laboratories of liberty. It is a serious mistake to override that process with federal mandates in an arena that belongs to the states.

The idea of state legislatures and state law placing caps on tort damages may be worthwhile.  But tort law has always been a matter of state law and our constitutional system of federalism demands that Congress respect that states, not the federal government, are responsible for state tort law.

H.R. 1215 stands in direct contradiction to the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, and separation of powers. One of Frontiers of Freedom’s primary missions is to preserve the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, separation of powers, and guarantee of basic rights as the foundation of America’s freedom. Thus, H.R. 1215 violates the very principles Frontiers of Freedom stands for.

H.R. 1215 represents an egregious and unwarranted expansion of federal power over the traditional role of states in tort law, not to mention regulation of health care. With the rigorous national debate on repeal of the Affordable Care Act, it should be obvious that nationalizing healthcare or even tort law is fraught with danger and could have very negative policy outcomes.

Nearly all states have spoken to the issue of malpractice damages either by instituting caps of their own or, alternatively, barring such restrictions legislatively or via court decision. It is not the proper role of the federal government to overrule state governments on matters that are entirely within the state’s purview. It is time for Congress to stop the continued creeping encroachment of federal mandates over state law and issues that should rightfully be regulated at the state and local level.