The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that medical equipment vendors are not immune from liability in a lawsuit filed against the federal government over its medical treatment of Nassar, a Yemeni port city on the Red Sea.
The court ruled that if a vendor violates a law by not providing medical treatment to an individual with a medical condition, the vendor must be held liable.
The decision is a major setback for US medical equipment manufacturers, which have been lobbying for a change to the NDAA, the law signed in 2001 that requires all military-grade medical equipment to be approved by the US military.
US lawmakers have proposed that NDAA be amended to provide greater protection for medical supplies, but the White House has been pushing for the law to remain unchanged.
The Supreme Court’s decision is significant because it puts a firm limit on how far a vendor can go to avoid liability.
It also marks the first time a court has ruled that a medical treatment could be denied due to an unproven medical treatment.
“The NDAA is an integral part of the United States government’s war against terror,” said Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who introduced a bill to repeal the NDIA.
“This decision is important for all Americans who rely on medical care, and especially those who depend on our health care to survive.
It is a significant step forward for Americans’ health and well-being.”
The US Chamber of Commerce, which represented the medical equipment industry, said in a statement that it was disappointed the Supreme Court has ruled against it.
“While we are disappointed with the court’s decision, we remain confident that the NDPA can remain unchanged as it currently stands,” the chamber said.
US medical supplies are the largest export market for the US, accounting for nearly a third of its overall imports.
The NDAA provides for a $10,000 “burden of proof” for medical providers when they refuse to provide medical care to an insured individual.
Medical providers must prove that the individual had a serious medical condition or condition that threatened their safety or well-beings, such as cancer, diabetes, or HIV.
The bill passed the House of Representatives in December and is currently under consideration in the Senate.