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The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently spoke out in support of the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act. The bill, headed up by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), “would remove an inequity,” as stated by the MOAA president and retired Vice Admiral Norb Ryan.

For the past sixty years, service members have been prohibited from suing the federal government (military physicians and health care treaters) for cases of medical negligence , or malpractice, due to a United States Supreme Court ruling. However, as pointed out by Admiral Ryan, “Legal recourse for medical negligence…‘is available to all other citizens, including military dependents, military retirees and survivors and their dependents, and even federal prisoners and wartime detainees.’” Clearly, there is a lack of consistency with the current policy!

The new bill would rightfully allow service members to take legal action when damages from improper medical care take place.

The bill is named in honor of a Marine Corps platoon leader who passed away from a melanoma that medical professionals failed to properly treat. The sad case leaves a 7-year-old son without a father and a family with no method of holding those at fault accountable for their negligence.

Several other organizations have endorsed the bill, noting the positive change it would bring. Let us serve those who serve, by allowing them the same right to medical care and accountability that all other citizens enjoy. It is wrong that those who serve our country, putting themselves in harm’s way, who spend long periods of time away from their families, are, perhaps, the least protected American citizens when it comes to being able to balance the harm done to them by medical malpractice. This type of immunity should be ended.

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