AAJ Statement on Congressional Budget Office Findings on Malpractice Costs

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For Immediate Release: October 9, 2009

Contact: Kyle Murphy
202-965-3500, ext. 369

AAJ Statement on Congressional Budget Office Findings on Malpractice Costs

The following is a statement from American Association for Justice President Anthony Tarricone:

Washington, DC--“Today’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) findings reiterate what we’ve always known:  that medical malpractice claims have almost no effect on overall health care spending.  Along with the CBO’s numbers and countless other academic assessments, the vast majority of empirical evidence suggests that there are only miniscule savings to be found in reforming our nation’s civil justice system.

“Despite claims by tort reformers that the greatest cost of malpractice claims are borne by the public in the form of ‘defensive medicine,’ today’s analysis shows that at most, malpractice reform would provide savings of 0.3 percent in this area.  In total, tort reform would provide a paltry 0.5 percent savings, while putting patients at risk.

“Indeed the CBO itself raised concerns that limiting patients’ legal rights could further jeopardize patient safety.  In the final paragraph of its analysis, it states ‘recent research has found that tort reform may adversely affect [health] outcomes.’

“According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, malpractice claims make up just 0.3 percent of total health care costs.  And we are confident that after weighing the totality of research on the subject, the public and Congress will see the truth:  that limiting patients’ legal rights will do nothing to fix what ails our nation’s health care system.”

Read more statements from leading experts and opinion leaders at www.justice.org/medicalnegligence.

As the world's largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org/newsroom.

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