(Updates with Speier comment in last two paragraphs.)
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Troops have filed $2.16 billion in medical malpractice claims under a 2019 law that required a system of compensation for victims, according to the military services.
The total, which hasn’t been previously reported, represents 227 cases that have yet to be adjudicated. The Army, which is the largest branch of the military, reported $845 million in malpractice claims. The Air Force reported $530 million, while the Navy and Marine Corps reported a combined total of $781 million.
The malpractice cases have languished at the Pentagon more than a year after Congress passed a landmark law (Public Law 116-92) to allow troops to receive compensation for injury or death at the hand of military hospitals. Troops have been barred from suing by a 1950 Supreme Court precedent.
The Pentagon has yet to finalize the required policy to dole out payments, and the delay has angered lawmakers who backed the 2019 legislation.
“The revelation that there are now over $2 billion in pending claims held up by the department’s delay in meeting their obligation underscores the pervasiveness of military medical negligence and the need for transparency and greater oversight,” Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, wrote in a statement to Bloomberg Government.
“I am pressing the department for answers on this inexcusable delay that is hurting our troops and military families who have suffered too much—physically, emotionally, and financially—already,” Speier added.
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