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Tort Reform will not Fix Health Care

Every year 98,000 people die annually from preventable medical error, at a cost of $29 billion. That is the equivalent of two 737s crashing every day for an entire year. However, despite this alarming statistic, legislators still want to reform health care. Tort reform means, taking away the legal rights of patients, injured through no fault of their own, and preventing them from obtaining legal recourse. The Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office has reviewed tort reform multiple times, and said it will save practically no money. They also found no evidence of so-called “defensive medicine.” Many legislators contend that doctors run more tests because of the fee-for-service structure, or because of the benefits extra tests have on patient care. Also, a recent Harvard study found that 97% of medical malpractice lawsuits were meritorious, debunking the idea that frivolous lawsuits plague the courts. While 46 states have enacted some kind of tort reform, health care costs have continued to skyrocket. Oftentimes in the legislation discussions, politicians lose sight of the most important person, the injured patients. They shouldn’t have additional barriers thrown in their way to seek justice. We should also focus on how we can prevent medical errors. The one sentiment that should remain is that patients’ rights are not negotiable. To read more about tort reform, please click the link.