Archives: July 2010

Gingrey & Fleming: Medical Liability Bill Key to Health Reform

Just over three months ago, President Barack Obama signed “ObamaCare” into law — with the promise that the reform bill would lower costs, increase access to quality care and preserve the great tradition of American medical care. Clearly, however, as has become more apparent every day since the bill became public law, ObamaCare will have none of these intended effects — due to both what is in the bill and what was left out. As physicians, we are acutely aware of the need to reform our health care system, particularly as it comes to cost containment. We must ensure that doctors can continue to treat their patients without going out of business, and patients — particularly seniors and those living in low-income households — can find the quality health care that they can afford. We both came to Congress with health care reform as our principal goal; thus, we have been understandably frustrated with what has happened to date. However, whatever our policy differences may be with the Democratic majority on the substance of health care reform — and they are significant — what continues to disturb both of us is the complete lack of attention paid to medical liability…

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Medical malpractice insurance bill clears House subpanel

A bill that would have the federal government cover medical malpractice costs for physicians who volunteer at community health centers cleared the Energy and Commerce panel’s health subcommittee on Thursday. The sponsors of the bipartisan Family Health Care Accessibility Act, Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and Gene Green (D-Texas), say the bill would enable underserved communities to have access to care at minimal cost to the government. The bill extends to volunteers the medical liability protections currently offered by the Federal Tort Claims Act to physicians employed at community health centers. “Extending medical liability protections to volunteer physicians would result in more doctors and more patients being served at a lower cost to these centers,” Murphy said. “And the cost to do this is pennies on the dollar. It is estimated that extension of FTCA protection would cost the federal government just $1.5 million a year, but it would serve millions more new patients.” Murphy and Green say physicians who currently want to volunteer have to pay as much as $100,000 a year in medical malpractice insurance, making it too costly for them to do so. At the same time, the new healthcare reform law increased funding for community health centers…

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What happened to tort reform?

Ignoring tort reform does no one any justice and essentially drives up the cost we all pay. It wasn’t long ago that the Congressional Budget Office determined that medical liability reform, also known as tort reform, could save our country money in health-care spending. In fact, they said it could save a lot of money — in the range of $54 billion. That’s not chump change for anyone. So, many people were happy when the Obama administration heard the words of the CBO and announced that $25 million in funding would be provided to establish medical liability and patient safety demonstration projects and planning grants. This was ushered in with the many health-system reforms passed earlier this year in Washington. But now that the grants have been awarded, many across the nation are scratching their heads and asking, “What about tort-reform projects?” According to Pennsylvania Supreme Court data, 85.1 percent of medical malpractice claims that end up in front of a jury result in a decision for the defense. In other words, the doctors and hospitals tend to win and win often when they are wrongly sued, possibly a sign that too many claims are advancing that shouldn’t. Certainly when…

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May 2006 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 1 May Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • National Grassroots Campaign Builds Momentum • Radio Tour Reach 45 Million Listeners • Web Site Update • Filibusted! • Maryland Public Television Airs Documentary on Crisis • DMLR in the News National Grassroots Campaign Builds Momentum Log on to our site to see how you can join the campaign. The Protect Patients Now national grassroots campaign for medical liability reform continues to build impressive momentum. As of mid-May, we have collected nearly 38,000 signatures for our petition drive and more than 14,000 letters have been sent to Congress from our web site (over 5,000 in just one week before the recent Senate vote). If you have not done so already, please take a moment to sign our petition and pass it along to friends and supporters. Meanwhile, Protect Patients Now has launched its 2006 candidate pledge initiative to get Senators and candidates for the Senate to go on record in support of national medical liability reform. Please review a copy of our candidate pledge. PPN will keep you posted as the results come in. Radio Tours Reach 45 Million Listeners In the last few weeks, DMLR representatives…

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June 2006 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 2 JUNE Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • Legislative Update • Sen. Clinton Admits Lawsuits Harm Patient Health Care • Emergency in the ER • Meritless Lawsuits, Anyone? • Study: Hard Caps Decrease Premiums Legislative Update Click here to see how you can join the campaign. On June, 22, the Senate will be holding hearings on legislation sponsored by Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Bauchus (D-MT) that would provide funding for a health courts pilot project, as well as on the “MEDiC” bill sponsored by Senators Clinton (D-NY) and Obama (D-IL) (See “Sen. Clinton Admits…” below). Despite last month’s Senate filibuster, Congress has vowed to continue the fight in support of comprehensive medical liability reform legislation. Talk on the Hill is that the House of Representatives will take up this issue again sometime this summer. And some in the Senate hope to re-visit medical liability reform before the campaign season gets into full swing. Protect Patients Now is encouraged by continued support on Capitol Hill, where a clear majority in both the House and the Senate want to see reform passed. And leading up to the mid-term elections, PPN will…

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July 2006 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 3 JULY Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • House Hearings on Medical Liability • Check Out PPN’s “Recent News” • New Study: Defensive Medicine Costs Billions • Crisis in Emergency Surgical Care • AJPH: Caps Lower Health Care Costs • Personal View: A Patient Turned Activist House Hearings on Medical Liability Click here to see how you can join the campaign. The House Subcommittee on Health held hearings July 13 on “Innovative Solutions to Medical Liability.” On the plus side, an overwhelming consensus emerged that our nation is indeed suffering from a medical liability crisis that is raising insurance premiums, driving good doctors out of medicine, and undermining quality health care in America. Unfortunately, advocates for the one proven solution – reasonable caps on non-economic damages – were not included on the roster of witnesses, who instead recommended pilot health court programs, voluntary “early offer,” and alternative dispute resolution. Thankfully, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) pointed to the efficacy of non-economic caps in their own states. As Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, Chairman of DMLR said (click here to listen to his radio news release), pilot programs…

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August 2006 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 4 AUGUST Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • Contact Your Senators Back Home • Momentum Builds for PPN Candidate Pledge Drive • More News from the Continuing Crisis • Protect Patients Now at Center of Online Medical Liability Reform Debate Contact Your Senators Back Home Click here to see how you can join the campaign. With just one week remaining in the congressional recess, now is the time to contact your Senators while they’re back at home and let them know you want them to help stop medical lawsuit abuse. For contact information for your Senators’ district office in your state, please click here. Tell them that it’s time to end the filibusters and procedural ploys and give the American people what they deserve – comprehensive reform of our medical liability system that will solve the current health care crisis and ensure access to quality health care for all Americans.   Momentum Builds for PPN Candidate Pledge Drive In June, Protect Patients Now kicked off its candidate pledge drive, mailing pledge packets to all candidates for the U.S. Senate, both challengers and incumbents, in the 2006 elections. With the election set to…

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September 2006 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 5 SEPTEMBER Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • Tens of Thousands Sign Protect Patients Now Petition • Millions Hear Call for Medical Liability Reform • The President Stumps for Medical Liability Reform • Texas Celebrates Prop 12’s Third Anniversary with Historic Rate Cuts • A Tale of Two States Tens of Thousands Sign Protect Patients Now Petition Click here to Sign the Petition.   In little over a month, more than thirty thousand new signed petitions have flooded into PPN’s offices in response to our summer direct mail campaign, bringing our total to over 80,000 petitions in support of comprehensive medical liability reform. “This huge spike in petitions shows that the American people are really getting energized about this issue,” said DMLR Chairman, Stuart L. Weinstein. “With the fall elections on the horizon, candidates need to pay attention. The voters want medical liability reform now.” If you have not yet signed our petition, please click here to view our newly updated petition page and to add your name to the 80,000-plus Americans who want to protect patients through medical liability reform. Millions Hear Call for Medical Liability Reform An audience of…

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October 2006 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 6 OCTOBER Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • November 7…and Beyond • Dr. Weinstein on the Texas Turn-Around • A Ruse by Any Other Name • Trial Lawyers in Disarray November 7… and Beyond Click here to Sign the Voter Pledge.   In the run-up to November’s mid-term elections, Protect Patients Now continues its campaign to highlight the urgent need for national medical liability reform with our Candidate Pledge initiative and our recently rolled out Voter Pledge drive. If you haven’t yet visited our new online Voter Pledge Center, it’s not too late to add your name to the growing list of citizen supporters here. Looking beyond November, Protect Patients Now will continue to implement its long-term strategy to end medical lawsuit abuse and protect patients’ access to quality medical care. Dr. Weinstein on the Texas Turn-Around Nearly twelve million listeners recently tuned in to hear the Chairman of Doctors for Medical Liability Reform, Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, discuss the dramatic turn around in Texas since the passage of Proposition 12, the constitutional amendment that locked in medical liability reforms in that state and made it a model for national…

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