Faced with what seems to be an increasing level of misleading rhetoric about conservative positions on public policy issues, The National Center for Public Policy Research has resolved to help bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality.
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Photo of Valley Forge National Historic Park by James Lemass
Was Bush Wrong to Say It Would Benefit the Economy?
The cost of the U.S. tort system has increased one-hundred fold over the last 50 years, while GDP has grown by a factor of only 34.(1)
Medical malpractice lawsuits are but part of cost of excessive lawsuits, and the number of malpractice lawsuits per capita tells but a small part of the medical liability story. Often the mere possibility of a lawsuit being filed causes a potential defendant to settle.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), a surgeon, says 12 states are in health care "crisis" because of malpractice lawsuit abuse while 30 others are in "near-crisis."(2) A Harris Interactive study(3) says 76 percent of physicians believe liability concerns are hurting the quality of medical care. $50 billion annually (and incalculable discomfort) is wasted on unnecessary tests to guard doctors and hospitals against lawsuits.(4) Unreasonable jury awards cost an estimated $70-126 billion extra in health care costs every year, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.(5)
Doctors and lawyers,
corporations and consumers, insurance companies and public officials
may never agree 100 percent on the proper resolution of the tort
crisis, but all should be able to agree that excessive lawsuits
have significant costs.
(2) Benjamin Grove, "Congress Hears Insurance Woes From Ex-LV Doctor," Las Vegas Sun, February 12, 2003, available at http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/lv-gov/2003/feb/12/514652905.html as of December 31, 2003.
(3) As cited by Donald J. Palmissano, M.D., J.D., representing the American Medical Association in testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2002.
(4) "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?" Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1996, as cited by sickoflawsuits.org, available at http://www.sickoflawsuits.org/press/epidemic.cfmas of December 31, 2003.
the New Health Care Crisis: Reforming the Medical Litigation
System to Improve the Quality of Health Care," U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2003,
as cited by sickoflawsuits.org.
January 6, 2004