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Tort “Reform” Savings Called Into Question

The new Congress that was sworn into office in Washington D.C. last week will soon begin debating a variety of hot button issues. Many of those matters will be of particular interest to all those concerned with proper healthcare for the elderly or fair treatment for all medical patients. In particular, the specter of medical malpractice “reform” will once again rear its head in many committee debates and policy calls.

In that discussion a claim will often be made about “savings” to be had if tort reform legislation is passed. The basis for that claim is generally linked to a single Congressional Budget Office analysis from a year and a half ago. That analysis has been shown severely flawed, as with so much of the information used to push the takeaway of legal rights for patients. The Center for Justice and Democracy published a detailed examination of the errors in the CBO analysis.

Overall, the claims of money saved are taken almost solely from a handful of studies that actually contradict one another. One of those studies even goes so far as to claim that changes to the current structure would allow may cause more than 50,000 more people to die from medical errors each year-on top of the almost 98,000 who already do.

The CBO analysis uses an extreme form of tort reform legislation that no single state has ever accepted, including a hard $250,000 limit on non-economic damages and a one year statute of limitations on claims. The group’s own evidence also suggests that these reforms may actually increase costs, not save them. In states with the most widely used type of reform-limits on joint and several liability-the costs of healthcare actually increased following the legislation.

Poor medical care is obviously a stark problem that requires focused attention and original thinking. The danger it poses to all patients, including many in nursing homes, is real and potent. However, our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti strongly believe that attention needs to be paid on making changes that improve the quality of care, not putting barriers up against the victims of the errors.

Please Click Here to read the full report which clearly shows the folly in pushing to take away patient rights.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

American Association For Justice Report: Five Myths About Medical Negligence

Tort Reform Does Not Equal Health Care Reform