National legal observers are closely awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Florida v. HHS–the landmark case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Many expect the decision to be handed down in the next week or two. When it does, you can be sure that all those with any connection to the world of healthcare–including Chicago medical malpractice lawyers–will be examining the decision closely to understand what it means.
In preparation for the coming landmark decision, many groups are getting ready for a potential response. If the Court rules that all or part of the law is unconstitutional (many observers think that will be the case), then the matter will likely be taken up again by Congress.
Each Illinois medical malpractice lawyer at our firm is well aware of the implications of throwing the matter back into the legislature–interest groups of every stripe will again seek to imprint the law with their own preferences. The Chicago Tribune published a story this weekend on plans being put into place by the nation’s largest healthcare lobbying organization should matters be sent back to Congress.
The President of the American Medical Association–the chief lobbyist for medical interests–made suggestions at the group’s annual meeting about what issues will be pushed in future Congressional debates on these matters. The 300,000 member association meeting took place this weekend at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.
For one thing, the AMA wants higher Medicare payments to doctors. However, it is difficult to understand how that request is possible considering federal coffers are already notoriously in the red.
In addition, the President argued for more “tort reform” efforts to further insulate medical professionals from legal accountability for their actions. The Affordable Care Act made no mention of tort reform efforts, fortunately. Instead it was an attempt to expand healthcare coverage to more Americans and enforcing fair, common sense rules on insurance companies–like lifting lifetime insurance caps and requiring insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.
Our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys applaud the AMA’s support of the Affordable Care Act and commitment to expanding health insurance to more Americans. These goals are things toward which all groups should strive.
However, we remain steadfast in our opposition to tort “reform” efforts which do nothing more than further protect insurance companies and big medical interests at the expense of the basic legal rights of medical patients. Contrary to the perception portrayed in public debates on these issues, medical malpractice cases do not punish doctors for bad outcomes. These suits apply the same standard of reasonable care that is applicable to every professional.
Major hurdles already exists for patients who are harmed because they did not receive reasonable medical care. Obtaining proper evidence in these cases sufficient to meet the required burdens of proof or to arrange of fair settlement can be time-consuming and costly. Fairness demands that even more restrictive barriers not be placed in front of those seeking liability on the part of unreasonable professionals. We must stand against all future attempts at erecting local, state, or federal tort reform laws.
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