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New Report Says 'Health Courts' Bureaucracies Offer Big Financial Burdens and Loss of Patient Rights
Date:9/27/2007

Ill-conceived Insurance Industry Proposal Is 'Bad Public Policy'

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- A groundbreaking new report on health courts by Case Western Reserve University professors Max Mehlman and Dale Nance finds that health courts would be burdensome, prohibitively expensive and would come at the expense of injured patients.

The report prepared under a grant from the American Association for Justice Robert L. Habush Endowment, finds that health courts would require the creation of new and costly bureaucracies that would be controlled at every level by the insurance industry.

For more information, see the full Executive Summary: http://www.justice.org/pressroom/PressReleases/ExecutiveSummary.pdf.

View the Health Courts fact sheet: http://www.justice.org/pressroom/PressReleases/HealthCourts.doc.

Proposals to create special "health courts" are the latest in a series of attempts to eliminate or drastically reduce the rights of injured patients.

"This report exposes the health insurance industry's latest attempt to deprive patients of their rights," said American Association for Justice CEO Jon Haber. "Not only will so-called health courts force patients to seek compensation from bureaucracies dominated by unaccountable insurance companies, but they will also drive up costs. In the end, patients will not be safer and negligent hospitals and doctors will not be held accountable for medical errors."

The report finds many critical flaws in the health courts concept, including:

-- The new health courts bureaucracies would place a massive financial

burden on taxpayers and the employers and employees that pay for

health care insurance.

-- The decision making process would be controlled at every stage by

the insurance industry.

-- A health courts bureaucracy would not be affordable without

substantial increases in doctors malpractice premiums.

-- Patients would be forced into the bureaucracies without any choice,

and many claims would be arbitrarily limited or barred altogether.

-- Patients would have to prove the "avoidability" of their injuries

and even those successful in their claim would be under-compensated.

-- Wrongdoers would not be held accountable, and the deterrent effect

of the civil justice system would be eradicated.

The authors conclude the health courts concept is misguided and encourage proponents to abandon it as "bad public policy."

As the world's largest trial bar, AAJ (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) promotes justice and fairness for injured persons, defends the constitutional right to tria by jury, and strengthens the civil justice system through education and disclosure of information critical to public health and safety. The AAJ provides lawyers with the information and professional assistance they need to serve clients successfully and protect the democratic values of the civil justice system. Visit http://www.justice.org.


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SOURCE American Association for Justice
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