Every Chicago medical malpractice attorney has been closely following the developments in D.C. related to the budget deficit issues that have erupted over the past few months. Lately all eyes have turned to the so-called “Super Committee” –a group of legislators who are charged with coming up with a $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan. Unfortunately, those who have spent years pushing for tort reform schemes to be forced upon all states are using the committee hearings to try to enact nationwide changes to the civil justice system.
Most reasonable observers admit that medical malpractice changes have no place in the deficit reduction talks. The changes would only work to hurt patients and would not bring about any necessary improvement to the nation’s financial situation. Research and investigation from a wide range of groups has consistently found that actual financial savings as a result of changes to the tort system are illusory. Even the most generous assessments place any financial savings at only fractions of a percent of our overall healthcare costs. However, the consequences for the victims of such changes are significant. Enacting tort reform measures as part of this deficit reduction plan will do nothing to help the country’s financial situation, but it will do a lot to help the financial interests of a few powerful interest groups.
Still a variety of medical interest groups and certain members of Congress are working hard to put tort reform measures into the plan proposed by the Super Committee. It is important for those who care about patient rights to do their part to fight the effort. All members of the Super Committee need to be reminded that tort reform will only hurt patients and does nothing for the budget. It is particularly important to make your voice heard if your Senator or Representative is on the committee. A full list of members can be found below:
Super Committee Members:
• Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
• Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
• Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ)
• Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
• Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
• Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
• Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA-31st)
• Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI-4th)
• Rep. James Clyburn D-SC-6th)
• Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX-5th)
• Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-6th)
• Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8th)
Our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys encourage everyone to take a moment to call, write, or email members of this committee and remind them that medical malpractice reform does nothing to reduce costs. On the contrary, these changes would actually severely harm injured patients, leaving them without compensation for certain harm, and shifting the costs from the wrongdoer to the taxpayer. Victims without recourse in the civil justice system more often than not must rely on public programs funded by the taxpayers to get by each day. On top of that, these reforms remove incentives to make safety changes that can limit mistakes, save lives, and reduce the overall number of medical errors. Nearly 100,000 patients are killed every year because of mistakes that could have been prevented. Hospital infections take about 90,000 lives at a cost of $3.5 billion.
Please be sure to make your voice hear and share these important facts to help ensure these misguided tort reform efforts are not successful.
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