Take Back America
Out-of-control medical liability lawsuits have triggered the closure of medical facilities and caused a mass exodus of high-risk specialists such as obstetricians and neurosurgeons from Pennsylvania and other overlawyered states. Patients ultimately suffer, as they face higher prices and fewer options for care, says Lawrence J. McQuillan, director of Business and Economic Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.
Most lawsuits are dismissed or result in a judgment for the doctor. But doctors lose even when they win since the average defense cost per trial approaches $100,000.
Doctors don't shoulder these costs on their own. Patients pay higher health care costs and insurance premiums. In addition, they might be subjected to unnecessary and costly tests because wary doctors view them as potential litigants.
Stanford University economist Daniel P. Kessler and Brookings Institution scholar Mark McClellan found that a package of simple reforms, including a cap on noneconomic damage awards, would reduce annual medical expenditures by 5 percent to 9 percent without adverse effects on patients.
Source: Lawrence J. McQuillan, "More Lawyers, Fewer Doctors and Much Worse Health Care," Washington Examiner, October 20, 2010.
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