When someone crashes into your car, they have to pay to fix your car. When someone makes a mistake that hurts you, they have to make things right. We do that though a civil justice system, and the rules apply to everyone. Well, almost everyone. Through scare tactics and misleading statistics, the AMA has managed, in cahoots with insurance companies, to make "special rules" for your doctor in many states.
Misleadingly called "tort reform," the fact is that it is more appropriately descriped as "Malpractice Entitlements." Why? Because these efforts don’t keep out "frivolous" lawsuits (which, by the way, the system already does a very good job getting rid of through procedures like motions to dismiss). Instead, they often "cap" damages on ALL claims, whether valid or not, and thereby reduce the costs of malpractice.
In a sickening sense, this Malpractice Entitlement encourages lax behavior, because no matter the result, careless doctors cannot be held fully liable for their actions. Just as "personal responsibility" is a buzzword in many circles for conservative ideals, "personal responsibility" requires doctors to be held accountable for the full costs of their mistakes.
For anyone worried about medical costs, consider this fact: the single best way to reduce the cost of medical malpractice claims is to . . . wait for it . . . reduce medical malpractice. This makes sense, and other industries have become safer for everyone in an effort to reduce the costs of their mistakes. It makes sense: if you pay for your errors, you have an incentive to reduce errors. But the insurance lobby spends a LOT of money making sure we don’t look at it that way.
As Daniel R. Levinson pointed out, we should be angry about how many preventable mistakes occure every year:
If a 747 jetliner crashed every day, killing all 500 people aboard, there would be a national uproar over aviation safety and an all-out mobilization to fix the problem. In the nation’s hospitals, though, about the same number of people die on average every day from medical "adverse events," many of them preventable errors such as infections or incorrect medications. Where’s the outrage?
Think you know about a frivolous lawsuit? "Lotto" jury verdicts? You might be surprised to learn that many of these cases are not at all what you’ve been told. For example, the McDonalds Hot Coffee case is not at all about "runaway juries": the jury’s verdict was punitive damages–that is, punishment for McDonald’s bad behavior in keep its coffee above scalding temperatuve despite numerous earlier burns–and amounted to just one day of coffee profits. One day. And that verdict was reduced. Many other bogus lawsuit claims are debunked on scopes.com.