TorteDeForm

Kia Franklin

Will Pres. Obama back Med Mal Deform?

I'm confused.

Today, President Obama told attendees at the American Medical Association conference in Chicago that he is not supportive of the idea of capping medical malpractice damages:

"I'm not advocating caps on malpractice awards, which I believe can be unfair to people who've been wrongfully harmed. I do think we need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first, let doctors focus on practicing medicine and encourage broader use of evidence-based guidelines," Obama told the physicians group.

But then, could it be a precurser of tort "reforms" to come? In his very next breath the President talks about defensive medicine: "I want to work with the AMA so we can scale back excessive defensive medicine reinforcing our current system of more treatment rather than better care."

Several sources tell us that, yes, the President is actually much more open to the idea of med mal "reform" than he lets on publicly:

The American Medical Association has long battled Democrats who oppose protecting doctors from malpractice lawsuits. But during a private meeting at the White House last month, association officials said, they found one Democrat willing to entertain the idea: President Obama.

In closed-door talks, Mr. Obama has been making the case that reducing malpractice lawsuits — a goal of many doctors and Republicans — can help drive down health care costs, and should be considered as part of any health care overhaul, according to lawmakers of both parties, as well as A.M.A. officials.

Please, enlighten me. What's going on here? My recent hiatus has obviously left me seriously under-informed. I'm going to go check out Barbara O'Brien's recent blogposts to on the issue. Maybe she can help me catch myself up.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 2:16 PM, Jun 15, 2009 in Damage Caps | Debates with Tort "Reformers" | Health Care | In the News | Increasing Safety | Medical Malpractice
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Comments

Thank you for the much-needed coverage of Obama's misguided attitude regarding tort "reform."

This blog is a refreshing break from the onslaught of anti-tort propaganda.

However, something is lacking. The Chamber of Commerce people have launched successful propaganda campaigns telling stories of innocent mom n' pop business owners slammed by frivolous lawsuits. The news media sells papers by telling outrageous stories about fruit loops lawsuits and so forth.

But for every one of those stories, there are a thousand stories of the justice system working (or undercompensating plaintiffs). Can you tell those stories? Because the public needs to see them to counterbalance the work of the tort reformers.

Thanks again.

Posted by: Sara Peters | June 15, 2009 4:27 PM

Thank you for the much-needed coverage of Obama's misguided attitude regarding tort "reform."

This blog is a refreshing break from the onslaught of anti-tort propaganda.

However, something is lacking. The Chamber of Commerce people have launched successful propaganda campaigns telling stories of innocent mom n' pop business owners slammed by frivolous lawsuits. The news media sells papers by telling outrageous stories about fruit loops lawsuits and so forth.

But for every one of those stories, there are a thousand stories of the justice system working (or undercompensating plaintiffs). Can you tell those stories? Because the public needs to see them to counterbalance the work of the tort reformers.

Thanks again.

Posted by: Sara Peters | June 15, 2009 4:28 PM

Thank you for the much-needed coverage of Obama's misguided attitude regarding tort "reform."

This blog is a refreshing break from the onslaught of anti-tort propaganda.

However, something is lacking. The Chamber of Commerce people have launched successful propaganda campaigns telling stories of innocent mom n' pop business owners slammed by frivolous lawsuits. The news media sells papers by telling outrageous stories about fruit loops lawsuits and so forth.

But for every one of those stories, there are a thousand stories of the justice system working (or undercompensating plaintiffs). Can you tell those stories? Because the public needs to see them to counterbalance the work of the tort reformers.

Thanks again.

Posted by: Sara Peters | June 15, 2009 4:30 PM

This should not be that surprising. It is my understanding that Obama supported caps on med mal cases in Illinois in the past. Also, his administration is building quite a record of saying one thing while doing something different (another blogger calls this his attempt at sounding principled while doing unprincipled things).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2009 6:34 PM

Through his unofficial healthcare czar "Zeke Emanual", Obama has proposed a deal to the AMA. He wants to limit care in the latter months and years of life to decrease healthcare expenditures. To do this he wants to use evidence based guidelines to restrict care. An example is to deny Medicare reimbursement for dialysis for anyone over 65. In exchange for some reforms of medical malpractice torts he wants the AMA to go along with federal restriction of care. Here is the big catch. It is politically a bad move if you can get your own insurance to cover your dialysis and the government wouldn't. This is the political equal of saying you cant pay so the government is going to let you die. So he wants the AMA and all private insurance companies to go along with his healthcare czars recommendation. Of course the AMA said no.

In a nut shell, he wants to make sure you do not have the right to pay and contract for the healthcare you want.

Posted by: throckmorton | June 15, 2009 9:57 PM

Tort reform is not about preventing or limiting people's right to have their day in court. It is about limiting people's right to have a frivolous day in court on the backs of the American taxpayer. Nobody should have the right to use American courtrooms as another form of winning the lottery. There are many necessary lawsuits that should rightfully be heard, but they are far outweighed by the number of frivolous lawsuits in this country. American taxpayers have a right to not be forced to pay for other people's greed.


The "auto-choice" reform would have made available $40 billion in savings on auto insurance premiums. Individuals could save $31.7 billion and businesses could save $8.3 billion in premiums (numbers from 1996, likely much higher today). For the typical car insurance premium, this would translate into average savings of $221. In high insurance states, such as New Jersey, the savings would average $395 per premium.

Low-income drivers would particularly benefit, since the auto-choice reform is highly progressive. While the average driver would save 28.6 percent, low-income drivers would save 44.9 percent on their premiums. Moreover, the savings from auto-choice would be enough to offset 61.7 percent of the average tax burden of the poorest fifth of American families.

The contingency fee reform (co-authored by Professor Lester Brickman of the Cardozo Law School) would significantly reduce the total estimated cost of attorney fees of $45 billion each year. Payments to plaintiffs attorneys would reflect the value they add to their client's settlement.

* The Moore-Gephardt reform would also provide substantial savings in health care costs, through the elimination of the collateral source rule and by reducing inflated claims of medical damages. Moreover, the Moore-Gephardt reform would reduce the occurrence and size of "pain and suffering" damage awards.

Posted by: Jodi | July 16, 2009 12:05 PM

"are far outweighed by the number of frivolous lawsuits in this country." is utter nonsense and is typical of the mis-information promoted by these industry lobbies that just want to secure more profit from their clients. Do you really believe any potential savings will be passed along to you?

The truth is, a fraction of deserving cases ever make it to court, and the deck it stacked against them once they get there. Most attorneys I know take about 1 in 20 cases offered to them, and not because the other 19 are frivolous. The costs of litigation are already acting as a deterent, look at the statistics. The lawsuit "business" has been declining for years.

Posted by: Tom | August 18, 2009 11:58 AM

Hello, my name is Betty, I am looking for some one to help me in finding a lawyer for severe medical. injury.
contact me at, bettyallen63@gemail. have one year from may 6, to return to court. have medical record, and CD- ROM of hidden injuries.injury was hidden from me so long that the Throat had started to decay from within the inside of the Thraot.
The Throat was torn open from the inside, seperated from Esophagus. The doctor had used so much force and so many different sizes that the hospital hid the injury.
I had came into the hospital suffering from a Stroke. He was not given permission to force three different sizes of very large tubes down my Throat and Chest causing the Esophagus to collapse. I was discharged from the hospital with the injury and pneumonia.
The hospital said I did not have injuries nor pneumonia. Throat could not be repaired, abcess was drained at wakemed, Raleigh, NC, currently need another operation for outpouching of the Esophagus.

Posted by: Betty p. Allen | October 15, 2009 11:24 PM


THERE SHOULD BE A LAW......

There should be a law to pass where a woman cannot have a hysterecotomy performed if
1. her life is not at risk (no cancer)
2. she is not complete with child-bearing
3. seek counciling prior to surgery to explain and make sure you are 100% aware and understand of the type
of surgery to be admistered before anesthesia.

Please consider passing this into a law: It will help stop or even decrease the number of fraud/
hysterectomy being administered in the U.S.A
Something must be done now....A woman is at high risk for heart disease and osteoporosis once her ovaries
are removed. As well as a life time of complications that comes with this type of surgery.
A woman is never the same after surgical-menopause.

Stop UN-WANTED, UN-AUTHORIZED and UN-NECESSARY Hysterectomy.

Sincerely,
Alice Holmes


cc: many

Posted by: alice holmes | October 19, 2009 10:04 AM