Tarricone: Healthcare reform bill should reduce medical errors, not limit patients’ rights

AAJ President Anthony Tarricone penned a fiery opinion piece in Politico last week:

August was quite the month in the ongoing health care saga. Death panels. Scaring seniors. Angry mobs discovering new villains to blame for the terrible health care system we find ourselves having to fix today.

And then we have the tried-and-tested scapegoat for all of America’s ills and woes: trial lawyers.

Let’s face it: Trial lawyers — and all attorneys, for that matter — aren’t revered by the public at large (unless you need one). But for those who want to stick it to the trial bar, this bill is your chance. We can lower costs, help cover the uninsured and even put trial lawyers out of business.

No, it’s not tort reform. We’re demanding solutions that actually work. And preventing medical errors in the first place — an epidemic that plagues our entire health care system — will result in less litigation, lower costs and healthier patients.

Let’s cut the wheat from the chaff: Tort reform will do nothing to fix health care. Forty-six states have already done it, and costs have continued to skyrocket. The Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office have said tort reform will save practically no money, and they found no evidence of defensive medicine. Medical malpractice suits are less than 1 percent of all civil filings — and this has declined 8 percent during the past decade. The research is definitive and absolute, and those claiming otherwise are just trying to obstruct health care reform altogether.

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