H.R. 1478

On October 7, 2009, the House Judiciary Committee met for a markup session of H.R. 1478, known as the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Malpractice Accountability Act of 2009. The Committee voted 14 (Democrats) to 12 (Republicans) to favorably report the bill to the House. This is not an overwhelming victory since 10 Democrats were absent compared to only 4 Republicans. One can see how easily this vote could have been unfavorable.

There has been a question for years as to why this is a partisan issue when the rights of our servicemembers should be a bipartisan effort. A very interesting article at spells it out: The trial lawyer associations which represent plaintiff lawyers are major contributors to the Democrats. Insurance and medical interests contribute heavily to Republicans.

In reviewing the House Judiciary markup transcript, it was interesting that Republicans unanimously voted for an amendment to the bill that would reduce attorney's fees citing that they wanted the soldiers to get more of the compensation, yet the Republicans voted against the bill that would give soldiers the right to pursue compensation. This means that the Republicans are willing to deny our servicemembers the right to pursue compensation because in their opinion, the attorneys' fees are too high.

Our lawmakers have lost sight of the victims in legitimate malpractice cases. The victims in regard to the Military Malpractice Accountability Act are our servicemembers. There is no justification for continuing to deny our servicemembers the right to legal redress for reckless and negligent medical care. There is a synopsis of the arguments for and against the Military Malpractice Accountability Act (Oppose/Support) based on the transcript of the markup session, as well as some personal opinions and comments. Page numbers correspond to the markup transcript available at

Last action: Oct 7, 2009: Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 14 - 12.

Bill status: This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in the 111th session of Congress which ended 2010. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session.