About two months ago, I wrote about California’s Prop 46, which would have raised medical malpractice damage caps and required drug testing for doctors. Voters have rejected the proposal, which was opposed by a well-funded campaign led by malpractice insurance companies and the California Medical Association. Opponents claimed that the proposed law would increase the cost of health care, an assertion which has recently (and repeatedly) been proven untrue.
Malpractice Reform Has Minimal Effect on Cost or Practice of Medicine
A study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine last month revealed that laws designed to reduce malpractice claims do not reduce the cost of care. Supporters of malpractice reform have argued for decades that fear of lawsuits results in “defensive medicine” — unnecessary medical tests and procedures performed by health care providers simply to avoid being sued. After reviewing the results in three states that have implemented malpractice reform, the NEJM study found that laws making it harder for victims to recover reasonable and adequate compensation have almost no effect on the practice or cost of medicine.
The story of the Schmitt family in Wisconsin is all too familiar. In February, Robert Schmitt was about to undergo a routine heart procedure when he fell off the operating table and crashed to the floor, fracturing his hip. Robert ultimately died, due at least in part to complications from his serious pelvic injuries. The hospital’s insurance company offered a paltry $75,000 to Robert’s widow – not even enough to cover the medical bills. Unfortunately, due to draconian malpractice reform laws in Wisconsin, the Schmitts appear to have joined an increasing number of people who are unable to hold negligent health care professionals accountable for their carelessness. The medical malpractice laws in Michigan similarly prevent many victims and their families from even having their day in court.
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.