The American Association for Justice issued a quick response to Rep. Darrell Issa’s “misinformed” op-eds that were released this morning. The AAJ did so to present accurate information surrounding medical malpractice tort reform to reporters and the public. The op-eds came hours before the President commenced the bipartisan healthcare summit to discuss his proposal for healthcare reform. Although the proposal, released earlier in the week, did not contain any tort reform measures, it was well known that Republicans would continue to push for the inclusion of tort reform in the larger healthcare bill.
The AAJ debunks Issa’s argument by citing information and studies collected in the organization’s medical negligence primer. The AAJ notes that opponents of true healthcare reform use tort reform as a solution; however it will not solve the healthcare crisis and will only take away the rights of victims of medical malpractice. Rep. Issa argues that medical malpractice reform would help to contain healthcare costs. The AAJ cites the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s findings that tort reform would only result in a 0.5% reduction in the overall cost of national healthcare spending. The AAJ’s response also notes that states with the toughest medical malpractice laws have the most expensive healthcare in the country and the highest rates of uninsured people. Tort reform has done little to drive down the cost of healthcare or make it more accessible to people in these states.
Further, the AAJ refutes the notion that tort reform will control the cost of medical malpractice premiums and prevent doctors from fleeing. According to the AAJ response, states with no medical malpractice caps actually have lower premiums for doctors than states with caps, proving that there is no correlation between caps and medical malpractice insurance premiums.
As the healthcare debate continues, it is important for organizations such as the AAJ to inform the public and uncover the myths surrounding medical negligence. Doing so will help people see that tort reform has no place in the healthcare debate and will have little impact on reducing healthcare costs or improving healthcare for all Americans. Rather, tort reform will take away people’s rights to receive fair compensation for injuries or death caused by a healthcare provider’s mistakes. Read the AAJ’s response to the op-eds on tort reform.