There’s some smoke and mirrors going on at the Congressional Budget Office and it’s designed to take away your rights as a patient and to diminish the value of the 7th Amendment. We’re in the middle of an insurance crisis, and all anyone wants to talk about is a medical crisis that the evidence is showing doesn’t really exist.
The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report that was heralded as signaling a need for "tort reform", aka "erasing patient’s rights." Yet, its own math just doesn’t add up to the rhetoric. Even if all the most stringent medical malpractice liability reforms were enacted, it would only reduce the cost of health care by one half of one percent (0.5%). To put it this way, it would reduce the cost of health care by the amount Americans spend on dog and cat food each year.
The Center for Justice and Democracy has released its own response to the CBO report and its conclusions are stunning – the CBO report on Medical Malpractice is flawed through and through. First, the report failed to indicate that 100,000 people die every year from medical negligence in hospitals alone, a figure determined by the Harvard School of Public Health. That is more than the annual combined fatalities in the U.S. from motor vehicle accidents, AIDS, and fires. MORE.
Second, the study failed to really analyze its own factual findings. Defensive medicine, a hot-button issue, is being cited as a response to the fear of medical malpractice lawsuits. But the CBO report found that defensive medicine only really happens with Medicare patients, due to the payment structure of fee-for-services. Defensive medicine was not found in private managed health care systems. Well, the same rules of medical malpractice apply to doctors regardless of their patient’s age, so medical malpractice isn’t what is causing defensive medicine. To the extent defensive medicine exists at all, it can be controlled by simply managing care correctly as opposed to taking away patients’ rights and possibly killing more people.
Most importantly, the CBO ignores its own findings that Tort Reform (Crooked Justice) could increase patient deaths due to medical negligence by as much as 4,800 patients per year. Apparently, three studies was insufficient data to really consider the consequences.
Tort Reform will not make health care cheaper. It will not make you healthier.
Tort Reform would make it more likely that the next time you go to a hospital or doctor, the doctor treating you or your loved one will have less of an incentive to perform his duties reasonably. That’s a risk we just can’t afford.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.