This week, the New York Times wrote about a bill drafted by House Republicans that would make it harder for victims of medical malpractice to win cases for injuries caused by medical malpractice. Republicans assert that there is a “malpractice insurance crisis” that needs fixing. This is simply not true. That’s why Public Citizen is fighting every step of the way to stop this bad bill from becoming law.
A March 2017 Public Citizen report found that payouts made on behalf of doctors for wrongdoing account for a tiny percentage of health care costs—and are declining. Likewise, insurance premiums that doctors and hospitals pay to protect them against lawsuits have fallen for nine consecutive years.
Further, a 2012 Public Citizen report that reviewed 12 prominent studies on defensive medicine—the concept that doctors employ extra tests and procedures to protect themselves against potential litigation—found that costs related to defensive medicine account for two percent or less of overall health care costs.
The draconian measure that Republicans are pushing will weaken our justice system for medical malpractice victims. Republican proponents disregard data that does not fit their narrative. The myth of a medical malpractice crisis is indicative of the shameful desire to place profits over patients. And that is a bitter pill to swallow.