Tort Reform

TORT REFORM….Here is George Bush today on the subject of tort reform:

President Bush today demanded congressional action this year to rein in what he called “frivolous” lawsuits against doctors and hospitals, saying the time had come to impose federal restraints on a system traditionally left to the states.

….The legislation Bush favors would limit damages in malpractice cases, restrict class action lawsuits and curb asbestos-related litigation.

Let’s see now:

  • Limiting malpractice damages does nothing to rein in frivolous lawsuits. Frivolous cases either get thrown out of court or are settled for nuisance money.

  • Restricting class action lawsuits might have some merit, but it doesn’t have anything to do with frivolous suits against doctors and hospitals.

  • Curbing asbestos-related litigation accomplishes nothing except curbing asbestos-related litigation.

There really are things that could be done to restrict frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. For example, Charles Kuffner notes today that Massachusetts has figured out one piece of the puzzle.

But none of Bush’s proposals would have any effect at all on frivolous malpractice lawsuits. As usual, instead of trying to solve a problem, he’s merely using a problem as an excuse to do something else that he wants to do anyway ? regardless of whether or not it has any effect. I wonder how long it will take the medical profession to realize that nothing Bush is proposing will actually help them in any way?