The Bush Administration and the insurance industry have been speaking out in favor of tort reform for years. Now, several years after the tort reform laws have been instituted, studies are showing that lawsuits were never really threatening the healthcare system and tort reform has not cured the “healthcare crisis.” Instead, we are able to see how lawsuits protect citizens and help to institute necessary changes in the healthcare system. Those in favor of tort reform hope to take away the rights of those injured by the negligence of others by taking away their access to the judicial system.
The Center for Justice and Democracy has dispelled many of the myths about tort reform and medical malpractice lawsuits. One of those myths is that medical malpractice lawsuits are the cause of the healthcare crisis in the United States. In reality, medical malpractice lawsuits account for less than 1% of healthcare costs. Another myth is that medical malpractice insurance carriers are forced to raise premiums due to all of the medical malpractice lawsuits. In reality, in 2005, the 15 largest insurers saw combined profits of over $800 million. Those in favor of tort reform also claim that doctors are being forced to leave the practice due to lawsuits, when in reality, the number of practicing physicians is growing faster than the general population.
It is important that people educate themselves about the alleged need for tort reform and look at the facts. Taking away people’s rights to the civil justice system will be far more detrimental to the healthcare system than a lawsuit could ever be. It is time for America to focus on the rights of patients, instead of protecting the profits of insurance companies.