Commentary: We need tort reform, not health care reform
August 21, 2009
The state of health care in the United States is not a problem with health care professionals, but a problem caused by the American legal system.
No other country in the world has a legal system that is more corrupted by greed than ours in America. Our courts award attorneys huge settlements for minor mistakes made by our medical system. The problem with the awards is the attorneys receive the bulk of the money.
If defendants are innocent of any wrongdoing, insurance companies will settle a case if they estimate the cost of legal proceedings will exceed the cost of the judgment. There is no downside for attorneys, and they will take marginal cases knowing that insurance companies will settle cases rather than risk a trial.
Investigate malpractice awards and read what amounts are paid for minor mistakes. Most of the money goes to the plaintiffs’ attorneys after expenses are deducted.
During my last doctor’s appointment I discussed my concerns with my physician and he told me that every service he provides is regulated by the insurance company and this is a direct result of the risks caused by lawyers.
Health care problems today can be solved by tort reform. Make personal injury attorneys account for their billable hours. If personal injury lawyers are limited in what they can bill and are held accountable when they lose, they might think twice about filing frivolous lawsuits.
When gross negligent mistakes are made, the offenders should be held accountable, but let’s make sure that judgment fits the offense. Yes, millions when the wrong kidney is removed, none when a minor mistake is made.
Health care reform, no. Tort reform, yes, and now is the time. Government-controlled health care is not the answer. The addition of massive new taxes to fund the new bloated program is a bad deal for America. There is no possible way that I want a government worker, not my doctor, telling me what medical procedure can be performed on me.
Are we now better off with more government control? Will the government be better at making choices than our doctors? Will government be better at taking in tax revenue and disbursing it in a more efficient manner? Will government employees be forced to participate in the same health care program as ordinary citizens?
The answer is no.
• Steven L. David is a businessman from Carson City.