February 23rd, 2010
04:57 PM ET
5 years ago

Doctors push for malpractice reform

The American Medical Association and some 75 other doctors' groups have sent a letter to President Obama about medical malpractice reform.
The American Medical Association and some 75 other doctors' groups have sent a letter to President Obama about medical malpractice reform.

Washington (CNN) - Two days before the White House health care summit, the American Medical Association and some 75 other doctors' groups are focusing on one battle: malpractice reform.

In a letter to the president obtained by CNN Radio, the organizations imply that if President Obama is serious about working across party lines then malpractice or tort reform is the way to do it.

"A bipartisan agreement [on malpractice reform] would send an important signal… that Democrats and Republicans alike are willing to put aside partisanship to control costs and improve patient care," the letter states.

The physicians' groups who sent the letter range from the AMA and American Academy of Pediatrics to the Society for Vascular Surgery.

Malpractice reform is a top Republican priority, but Democrats have been resistant and question if the idea would cut health care costs. In their letter, the doctors point to a Congressional Budget Office conclusion that generally some forms of tort reform could reduce costs.

The missive is also found deep within the American Medical Association website.

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Filed under: Health care
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Average American

    BUT...the republicans have already called the AMA a liberal joke. See what they know. My guess is a compromise on tort reform (not exactly everything the GOP wants but more than the Democrats want) will be included. I'm fine with that.

    February 23, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. bearced

    I don't know that tort reform would make much of a difference but they do need to focus on reducing costs, not just going after insurance companies.

    February 23, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Oompa Loompa

    Indeed! Tort reform is necessary and warranted.

    February 23, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. ib

    I agree with the dr.'s; there is a lawyer hanging on every corner ready to sue like crazy and people wonder why ins. rates and dr. fees are so absurd.

    February 23, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Between tort reform and fraud crackdowns we could probably shave about 40% of the projected health care costs which are 100% understated anyway. It won't happen though because slimeball lawyers and welfare cheats and union frauds are Obozo's constituency.

    February 23, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Malpractice reform is fine.

    But when cons state that tort reform will lower costs, they are very much mistaken.

    Texas has tort reform on malpractice suits and my premiums went up 9% this year.

    Say it will put more money in the pocket of the doctors due to lower premiums, which is a good thing, or state it will go directly to the bottom line of the insurance company in fewer payouts.

    Just stop lying about how it is going to lower health care costs.

    If it did then our premiums here in Texas should be DECLINING, and the increase has been going higher every year.

    February 23, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Bruce

    Can someone explain to me what malpractice and tort reform have to do with millions of Americans not getting health care? This is a separate issue that should be handled in a different proposal. Physicians need to stop bartering with people's lives. The day they stop leaving surgical instruments in people or stop cutting off the wrong foot or administering the wrong drug dosage or taking out a perfectly good appendix or blowing out someone's aorta or arriving in at a code blue situation drunk or misdiagnosing sepsis...well you get the picture...that's the day tort law needs to be reformed!!!!!!

    February 23, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. cph9680

    I guess Bumbles and Pelousi need to listen more, that's what the Republicans have been saying for a year now!

    February 23, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. snood

    This is the healthcare reform Bush tried to get through even though he didnt try to help healthcare issues by what most people keep saying for the last year. this is a healthcare cost reform that does need to be looked at. my 26 yr old neighbor who has worked 8 months in his life has been fighting for liftime SS for years due to a accident. I watch him do stuff like shovel snow all the time but he is from the I desearve this generation.

    February 23, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Bot Stupid, Greedy, Selfish, or Arrogant Enough to be a Republican

    I've seen the Republicans' idea of malpractice reform and it isn't pretty. It involves caps on actual damages and elimination of punitive damages. The GOP and the insurance companies they're in bed with say it will eliminate bogus lawsuits but the fact of the matter is that for every bogus lawsuit there are at least 100 more in which somebody who has been injured or killed by a doctor's negligence isn't fully and fairly compensated for their loss.

    As is typical with just about every Republican policy or proposal, their version of malpractice reform will screw over the average working American and let big insurance continue to reap obscene profits while doctors continue to pay the same outlandish malpractice insurance premiums they pay now.

    February 23, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. DISCRIMINATION

    I want the same insurance as Obama/Congress/Labor Unions,anything less is treating the citizens as 2nd class.All go on it and I will ask for it,if it is not good enough for Obama/Congress/Labor it is not good enough for me.

    February 23, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    Democrats love affair with trial lawyers will not allow them to even consider tort reform. The ambulance chasing lawyers just love the possibility of a Doctor making a mistake, so the Doctor orders every conceivable test done to protect himself. The cost of all the self-defense test increase medical cost a reported 25%.

    February 23, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Why Not the Same Insurance For All

    Dems you need to think-why is Obama/Congress/Labor Unions not on the proposed Insurance you are begging for??Why not at least ask for the same as them.When they go on it,I will ask for it.

    February 23, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Just Say No

    Put all America on the same Insurance to include Washington or just say NO.Washington does not deserve any different then the rest of the citizens.I am not a 2nd class citizen to Washington/Labor Unions

    February 23, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Mike in MN

    You hear that Obama and Pelosi? Doctors want tort reform, even the AMA says so. So you've got to choose between trial lawyers and doctors.
    Sorry doctors you lose. Trial lawyers give way to mush money to Democrats so Obama and Pelosi just can't help you doctors. Maybe if doctors gave as mush money to Obama and the Democrats as trial lawyers and the unions do, Obama and Pelosi might care what they think.

    February 23, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. Fiscal Responsibility

    What is there a single glimmer of light peeking through. I thought San Frans botox queen and nevadas gambling dictator had blanketed the whole world with their clouds from mount doom.
    A good start to stop tests run only to protect from a lawsuit rather than actual medical reasons. Pick a smart Dr and dont worry. There should be caps on mal practice, a welfare queen does not need a $27M settlement (remember the old insurance rules of 3 fingers and a thumb equals xyz dollars). However as we lower malpractice demand dollar for dollar reduction in costs asked for by the Dr.

    February 23, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Unless I'm mistaken tort reform should be a state initiative, just like buying insurance across state lines. Why are the GOP and Obama haters trying to mix this in with health care reform for all Americans?
    The GOP likes to stir up trouble where they can, and they know that tort reform, gun reform, and abortion are lightning attractors. However, the GOP, in all their glory, have never made an attempt to do anything about any of these subjects. Remember that the next time you stand in front of the voting booth.

    February 23, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Gary

    Without serious medical malpractice reform there is no serious healthcare reform. By not including serious malpractice reform in his original proposal, President Obama has signaled that he is not serious about our healthcare system or cost reduction. The Trial Lawyers have long been giving Democrats lots of money to sheild them from reasonable reform. We don't need socialized medicine. What we could use is government limiting the amount of money that Lawyers are allowed to charge (and therefore make). Before regulating banks, doctors, oil companies etc.....first lets take a look at Lawyers. That would solve many of our Nation's problems.

    February 23, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Gary

    Without serious medical malpractice reform there is no serious healthcare reform. By not including serious malpractice reform in his original proposal, President Obama has signaled that he is not serious about our healthcare system or cost reduction. The Trial Lawyers have long been giving Democrats lots of money to sheild them from reasonable reform. We don't need socialized medicine. What we could use is government limiting the amount of money that Lawyers are allowed to charge (and therefore make). Before regulating banks, doctors, oil companies etc.....first lets take a look at Lawyers. That would solve many of our Nation's problems. Thanks.

    February 23, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. richard

    You doctors want reform? Start by getting rid of your bad apples....you know who they are, so show the rest of us that you have the balls to do so first.

    February 23, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. John in Tampa

    I would not like to see anything take pressure off of healthcare providers, because the mistakes you read about even with that sound indefensible. That said, I am in favor of reasonable caps on damages, because being victim in an accident doesn't qualify anyone for a reward.

    February 23, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Albert R. K. . L.A., CA

    The One Free Bite Rule did not work with bad dogs, why should we expect a Bite Who Ever You Wish Rule for bad doctors to work any better.

    February 23, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Fiscal Responsibility

    Many of you are not reading the Health Care bill. I do not like ity in it's present form but if is far from free insurance. You SEIU members posting all over these pages are not supposed to be able to afford computers.
    Have a top notch plan. Everyone pays. Rich pay lots, middle income pays about the same, poor gives up some portion of food stamps or whatever. It costs everyone "something".

    Next it is time to fine tune pre existing conditions. Assist those with bad conditions, however being fat and lazy is a pre existing condition that has been shown to cost more "on average", smokers, etc all the choices people make that leads to increased medical costs. Is it that evil to suggets an obese person pays 10% more, hopefully it leads to them watching the biggest looser and getting healthy even if it is just to reduce their insurance costs.

    February 23, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Chad from Tampa

    Why is this a Republican vs Democrat issue? Just ask your doctors how much they have to increase their fees to cover insurance to protect them from sue-happy people. Tort reform would save even you democrats money... So why are you against it?

    February 23, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Tommy Young

    "Unless I'm mistaken tort reform should be a state initiative, just like buying insurance across state lines. Why are the GOP and Obama haters trying to mix this in with health care reform for all Americans?"

    I agree with the first sentance, but health care should also be a state initiative. The federal government has no business being in the health care business.

    February 23, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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