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On medical liability reform, a base misrepresentation

To oppose medical liability reform, the litigation industry fundamentally misrepresents the arguments for it. And changes the subject in an obvious way. From an American Association for Justice news release:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As President Obama and Congressional leaders prepare for tomorrow's health care summit, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) is today reminding lawmakers to remember the 98,000 patients killed every year by preventable medical errors and how restricting their legal rights will not fix America's broken health care system.

"Opponents of reform have repeatedly attacked injured patients and used the malpractice issue to hijack the health care debate," said AAJ President Anthony Tarricone. "If health care reform makes medicine safer, then fewer patients will need legal recourse - a win for everyone. But it is unconscionable to tell injured patients that they should be left with no recourse if injured through no fault of their own."

Repeatedly attacked injured patients? What a miserable slur.

As we blogged yesterday, the House Republicans' proposed a substitute amendment on the health care, including tort reform provisions. Some of its titles are:

Sec. 301. Encouraging speedy resolution of claims.
Sec. 302. Compensating patient injury.
Sec. 303. Maximizing patient recovery.
Sec. 304. Additional health benefits.
Sec. 305. Punitive damages.
Sec. 306. Authorization of payment of future damages to claimants in health
care lawsuits.

Granted, those are just titles, but do you see any limits on patient rights there?

On Thursday, as the Blair House health care event is under way, the AAJ will be conducting a "phoneathon" out of the Dolan Law Firm in San Francisco to recruit new members. The trial lawyers group has struggled with membership numbers in recent years. One wonders whether the willingness of its leadership to peddle half-truths and calumnies might be driving people away.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.