A smooch for the trial lawyers

The Pediatric Insider

© 2009 Roy Benaroch, MD

In case you were wondering what’s included in the 1900 page behemoth that is the current health care reform bill, here’s one provision:

Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

 So: we’re going to encourage states to reform the medical liability mess—but not if in any way it might affect the incomes of the trial lawyers. More details here.

For those of you who may have naively thought that comprehensive health care reform would address the huge cost of defensive medicine and malpractice litigation, the intentions of Nancy Pelosi’s House Bill couldn’t be more clear. The bill discourages any meaningful reform. As for what’s in the other 1898 pages, a PDF version has been posted online—but honestly, there’s so much legal gobbledygook, I doubt anyone could possibly understand it, and I doubt anyone has read the whole thing. As I feared, it’s getting ugly. Put on your galoshes, America: you’re about to get hosed.

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3 Comments on “A smooch for the trial lawyers”

  1. Mark Baird Says:

    If conservatives want teachers to be accountable then the medical community should be as well.



  2. Dr. Roy Says:

    Of course the medical community should be accountable. Medical errors should be aggressively identified, studied systematically, and prevented; and crappy doctors should lose their licenses. Patients who are genuinely harmed should receive fair compensation quickly, and doctors and institutions that make errors should pay to make them right. Nothing in the current med-mal system encourages this. It’s a crapshoot where patients and doctors get screwed, mistakes are pushed under the table, and only the trial lawyers benefit.

    More specific to my original post: Why should health care reform legislation include specific verbiage to explicitly protect the income of trial lawyers?


  3. Leslie Says:

    Dr. Roy, I couldn’t agree more! I am amazed that there are still doctors willing to practice given the obscene malpractice insurance rates, and the general climate of our ridiculously litigious society. Our government has no business dictating the potential income of trial lawyers or anyone else.


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