Top Republicans Say There’s A Medical Malpractice Crisis. Experts say There Isn’t

Details

Publish Date:
December 30, 2016
Author(s):
  • Terhune, Chad
Source:
The Washington Post
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Summary

Top Republicans say a medical malpractice crisis is threatening U.S. health care: Frivolous lawsuits are driving up malpractice insurance premiums and forcing physicians out of business. Doctors and hospitals live in fear of litigation, ordering excessive tests and treatments that make health care unaffordable for Americans.

That’s why House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), tapped to be the nation’s top health official by President-elect Donald Trump, are vowing to make tort reform a key part of their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.

“What strikes me about these current proposals is that they really represent the agenda of medical professionals, which is all about limiting liability,” said Michelle Mello, a Stanford University law professor and health researcher. “To take any malpractice reform seriously, it has to offer something to improve the situation of patients and lead to safer outcomes.”

The caps “have some modest effects on costs, but it comes at a price of people being able to access the civil justice system,” Mello said.

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