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Illinois Nursing Home Lawsuits Have No Effect on Medical “Crisis”

The spreading of misinformation about tort reform continues unabated in public forums across the country. Things are no different in this part of the nation as some special interests continue to argue that certain types of legal cases, including Illinois nursing home lawsuits are causing a healthcare “crisis.” The only solution, say these proponents, is legislation that takes away the rights of negligence victims.

The truth, however, shows that not only do medical malpractice cases have nothing to do with the issue, but there is no actual “crisis” at all. A guest editorial in the Belleville News Democrat recently explained the actual state of affairs. One common claim is that doctors are fleeing the state because of the threat of lawsuits. In reality the number of doctors in the state has increased without exception for the last 45 years. In fact there remains an oversaturation of doctors in many of the most populous parts of the country.

One tort reform proponent attempted to claim that a doctor shortage in the town of Hillsboro was related to Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits. But even a cursory look at the facts would show that there was only a single such case filed in that county last year. It is hard to imagine a single lawsuit having anything to do with some claimed “crisis.”

Concern about misinformation of tort reform claimants doesn’t necessarily mean that no policy changes need be made. For one thing, insurance reform should be seriously considered to improve transparency of rate-setting practices and payouts. However, the public will never benefit from policy discussions that use proven falsehoods and distortions as their starting point.

Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti firmly believe that the constitutional rights of all Illinois victims should be preserved. There is no reason to allow big medical and insurance interests to trump those of the common citizen. All advocates for fairness and justice should stand up to those advocating tort reforms.

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