Trial Bar vs. Medical Malpractice Tort Reform
side note: This is a article written by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who just happens to be the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. His argument is not allowing lawyers to sue for unlimited amounts b/c this leads to frivolous lawsuits. He contends that if we have caps, then we will lower the amount of claims, and free up our court system to handle other important matters. Do you think this will lower costs for doctors or just for insurance companies?
A recent op-ed in POLITICO by Anthony Tarricone, president of the American Association of Justice, describes the thousands of participants at hundreds of health care town halls as “angry mobs” scaring seniors with claims of death panels. He rushed to defend trial lawyers, who he claimed were being used as a “scapegoat for all America’s ills and woes.”
But my experience with the health care debate has been quite different from Tarricone’s tall tale. The thousands of people who attended my public forums were not angry mobs; they were concerned citizens exercising their constitutional rights. They did not scream, shout or attempt to burn trial lawyers at the stake. They came to express their views — as Americans in a democracy.
They believe that America has one of the best health care systems in the world. They want to improve the current system without reducing the quality of care for all Americans. And they know that enacting tort reform is a first step.
Doctors and insurance companies pay billions of dollars annually to defend themselves against malpractice suits. The current system rightly allows patients to sue for money lost or additional costs incurred because of malpractice .
But it is the unlimited damages for “pain and suffering” that allow trial lawyers to abuse the system. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, 40 percent of medical malpractice suits filed in the U.S. are “without merit.”