Today’s Salon features an essay from Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. on how restricting the legal rights of injured patients won’t lower costs or improve health care. Dr. Parikh – instead of resorting to the empty rhetoric and dubious statistics of tort reform groups – examines the actual data and academic research that’s out there.
He finds no evidence of an epidemic of malpractice suits, and that it’s not a cost-driver either.
Their refrain is familiar to anybody following the healthcare reform debate. The only problem is that it’s not true. There’s nothing "sure or quick" about changing medical liability laws that will improve healthcare or its costs. Defensive medicine adds very little to healthcare’s price tag, and rising malpractice premiums have had very little impact on access to care.
After supplying an anecdote of a family friend that experienced medical negligence first-hand, Dr. Parikh rightly concludes:
“So for those who push tort reform as a panacea for a sick healthcare system, working to prevent injuries is a much more noble pursuit than writing up baseless arguments for the back pages of a newspaper.”
AAJ has created a series of reports examining the role of medical negligence in the health care debate. Visit www.justice.org/medicalnegligence to learn more (the reports can be found on the right-hand side of the page).