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Last evening, President Obama made the case our current health care system is broken, and reform is needed to lower costs and cover the uninsured.

Of particular interest to this community are the President’s comments regarding medical malpractice. The pilot programs outlined by President Obama will require more detail. But we all know the focus must be on reducing medical errors and improving patient safety. Over 98,000 people are killed every year by preventable medical errors. Reducing accountability won’t improve health care.

Additionally, all the data make clear that tort reform won’t lower health care costs either. A great analysis from McClatchy this morning is worth a full read, but here is the key quote:

Yet the push for tort reform rests largely on anecdotal evidence of the occasional large jury verdict or outrageous lawsuit. Despite the perception that "jackpot justice" has fueled soaring costs, hard data yield a much different picture.

That "different picture" is that while states have restricted the rights of injured patients, health care costs haven’t come down. It’s sure helped the insurance companies, but leaves everyone else holding the bag.

AAJ issued a statement following the President’s address last night, and the Chicago Tribune aptly stated:

Trial lawyers were not happy that Obama nodded toward tort reform in his speech, issuing statements meant to remind the public of the role lawsuits play in fighting dangerous medical practices.

Over 98,000 people are killed every year by preventable medical errors, said Anthony Tarricone, president of the American Association for Justice, the lobbying organization for the lawyers. Reducing accountability won’t improve health care.

AAJ will continue to educate lawmakers and the public over the coming weeks and months about the importance of a strong civil justice and protecting injured patients; legal rights. For more info and to get all the facts, visit the medical negligence section of our website.

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