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Medical Malpractice Survivors Urge President Obama to Keep 'Tort Reform' out of Health Insurance Bill
Date:2/11/2010

NEW YORK, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Center for Justice and Democracy:

A group of medical malpractice survivors, many with family members who have died or were severely injured as a result of medical negligence, today sent letters to President Obama and the Congressional leadership urging them to keep additional "tort reforms" out of the health insurance reform bill.  They said that responding to pressure from the insurance and medical lobbies to limit patients' legal rights would be a "tragic mistake."  

The House and Senate health care bills already have provisions that support state efforts to explore litigation alternatives.  So far, both the President and the Congressional leadership have opposed severe restrictions on patients' legal rights, such a "caps" on compensation, which Congress voted down at least five times during the Bush Administration.  The Congressional Budget Office has said that even the most brutal restrictions on injured patients would save less than 1 percent of total health care costs.

The survivors write, "Many of us have the misfortune of living in states with 'caps' and other laws that make it difficult or impossible to have cases heard before judges and juries.  We have heard some commentators say lately that there is 'no downside' to tort reform.  They need to spend a day in our shoes.  

"These laws have had terrible consequences for us, for injured patients who have been shut out of courts altogether, and for patient safety, in general.  They have also burdened taxpayers since some of us have had to turn to taxpayer-funded health and disability programs to provide for our injured family-member.  It would be a tragic mistake to impose such 'tort reform' laws on the rest of the country."

The letter concludes, "Medical malpractice has taken a huge toll on all of our lives, as it has on the hundreds of thousands killed or injured each year due to preventable medical errors.  Please continue to explore ways to improve patient safety and reduce unnecessary deaths, not diminish accountability for wrongdoers, limit our right to have cases heard before judges and juries, and burden taxpayers with the bill."

For a copy of the letter including names and descriptions of the signers, see: http://centerjd.org/archives/press/2010/ObamaLetter2-11-10.pdf or go to http://centerjd.org.  

SOURCE Center for Justice & Democracy

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SOURCE Center for Justice & Democracy
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