On September 22, 2009, the Huffington Post featured a timely article by Anthony Tarricone, President of the American Association for Justice. In his piece, Mr. Tarricone warns about the “bargain” for tort reform being played out in Congress:
“As part of a ‘grand bargain’ to create a bipartisan health care bill, some have said tort reform should be included.”
Although some in Congress are attempting to include tort reform into the health bill, that inclusion would not be an enhancement for the American people; rather, it would be a disaster for civil rights, health and safety.
As Mr. Tarricone points out and, most certainly, Congress is aware:
- "98,000 people dead every year from preventable medical errors, at a cost of $29 billion. (Institute of Medicine).
- To put this into perspective, 98,000 deaths is like two 737s crashing every day for a whole year.
- Countless more are seriously injured with astronomical costs.
- The Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office have looked at tort reform multiple times, and said it will save practically no money.
- They also found no evidence of so-called 'defensive medicine,' finding that doctors run more tests because of the fee-for-service structure, or because of the benefits extra tests have on patient care.
- Additionally, a 2006 study from Harvard found that 97% of cases were meritorious, totally debunking the idea that frivolous lawsuits plague our courts.
- And while 46 states have enacted some kind of tort reform, health care costs have continued to skyrocket, while injured patients or their families often can't seek justice."
So, why would a Congressional leader support tort reform, and why would they want it attached to the health bill? And, if it becomes so, will health reform end up sanctioning 98,000 deaths a year?
For the welfare of us all, we need to know where our elected officials stand on this issue.
Related: PharmaLittle: HOW HEALTH CARE REFORM SAVED FDA PREEMPTION,