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Health Courts Continue to Gain Bipartisan Support From 2012 Presidential Candidates
Date:3/26/2012

Three other bipartisan commissions have also endorsed health courts: the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (at the New America Foundation); the Debt Reduction Task Force of the Bipartisan Policy Center; and Esquire magazine's Commission to Balance the Federal Budget.

Health court pilot projects have been endorsed by virtually all leading health care participants including patient safety experts, consumer groups such as AARP, medical societies and other providers.

The concept of health courts originated with, and has long been championed by, Common Good, working in conjunction with experts at the Harvard School of Public Health and with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Health courts would have judges dedicated full-time to resolving health care disputes. The judges would make written rulings to provide guidance on proper standards of care. These rulings would set precedents on which both patients and doctors could rely. As with similar administrative courts that exist in other areas of law – for tax disputes, workers' compensation and vaccine liability, among others – there would be no juries. To assure predictability and fairness, each ruling could be appealed to a new Medical Appellate Court.

"Reliable health courts hold the key to eliminating billions of dollars wasted each year in defensive medicine," said Philip K. Howard, Chair of Common Good. "Health courts are also essential to rebuilding a culture of openness needed for safe medicine. Doctors and patients both deserve a court that reliably distinguishes between good care and bad care, not today's judicial lottery. The trial lawyer lobby has so far blocked health courts, but
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SOURCE Common Good
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