A group of medical malpractice survivors sent letters to President Obama and the Congressional leadership urging them to keep additional “tort reforms” out of the health insurance reform bill. They are responding to pressure he has been feeling from the insurance and medical lobbies to limit patients’ legal rights. The Congressional Budget Office has said that even the most brutal restrictions on injured patients would save less than 1 percent of the total health care costs. The survivors wrote that they have endured the problems of state restricted malpractice caps. Malpractice awards need to be suited specifically to aide the victim. The laws have had terrible consequences for them. Some victims of medical malpractice were shut out of courts altogether. Illinois recently passed a landmark decision that declared medical malpractice caps unconstitutional. Illinois has upheld the right decision that puts patient’s rights in front of insurance greed.
The letter concludes, “Medical malpractice has taken a huge toll on all of our lives, as it has on the hundreds of thousands killed or injured each year due to preventable medical errors. Please continue to explore ways to improve patient safety and reduce unnecessary deaths, not diminish accountability for wrongdoers, limit our right to have cases heard before judges and juries, and burden taxpayers with the bill.”
Lawmakers should be concentrating on making the system fairer to doctors and patients. They should look to reducing the 98,000 deaths that occur each year due to medical error.
To read a copy of the letter, please click the link.