Tort Reform is the buzzword that is tossed around state capitols and Congress as the silver bullet that will solve ballooning medical costs. Numerous insurance companies, special interest groups, and doctor’s groups argue that tort reform will save hospitals millions and thus shave thousands off of patient’s medical bills. But, those claims tell an incomplete picture. A study conducted by Cardozo School of Law explored the fallacies in these arguments and how tort reform reduces the checks on negligent doctors.
Many advocates argue that runaway attorneys and their exorbitant judgments are to blame for the rampant increase in medical costs. But these claims ignore the fact that litigation consumes a minuscule portion of medical costs. They argue that aggressive attorneys force doctors to practice “defensive” medicine. Defensive medicine is the practice of ordering more than the necessary number of tests to triple confirm findings, in an attempt to anticipate and stave off liability.
But, the defensive medicine theory was disproved by a comprehensive Government Accountability Office study published over ten years ago, in 2003. The study found that defensive medicine is not sufficiently prevalent to study. Furthermore, another review by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment attributed eight percent of all diagnostic procedures as defensive.
The plain fact is that medical costs are driven by the economics of the healthcare industry. Patients are charged extraordinary costs for procedures, and they lack the transparency and buying power to change their decision accordingly. Addressing the structure of healthcare, not tort reform, is the only realistic solution to high costs.
If you were injured due to a doctor error, then you may want to speak with an attorney – you could have an actionable claim for damages. Medical malpractice suits are often derided in the media and by so-called experts who are paid to express an opinion. Don’t listen to any of those pundits, if you were injured, you deserve compensation. A lawyer can help you get the money you will need to pay for your ongoing medical costs associated with your injury so that you can focus on rebuilding your life.