Shakespeare once said let’s kill all the lawyers. Many people still think that trial lawyers are the root of all our problems. Trial lawyers are blamed for causing doctors to go out of business due to sky high medical insurance premiums and costs. Of course, it’s the trial lawyers who sue when patients have been catastrophically injured or died by the hands of doctors. And the argument is these trials, lawyers and judgments drive doctors out of business. Letting “bad” doctors or negligent doctors and hospitals off the hook is not the answer either. There must be a balance between patient safety and the costs of doctors able to practice medicine.
But in reality lawyers and doctors have more in common than one might think. If either group could look beyond their own faces, they would see the enemy. We are not causing the problem. The real culprits are not doctors nor lawyers in causing the medical crisis problems. The real culprits are the insurance companies. Running a close second are the pharmaceutical companies. No government agency is regulating either of them.
Mr. President while you’re looking at tort reform as a remedy, please take a much closer look at the insurance industry. They seem to be getting a complete pass. Until we truly fix what’s broken, things will continue to break. The trial lawyers and doctors should not be fighting each other over tort reform. Instead, they should be aligning forces to fight for regulation of the yet unregulated insurance industry. It is the insurance industry that pays doctors sometimes less than 50% of what they are owed on patient’s bills. How many of us could survive if our employer paid us less than 50% of what we are due and owed? It is the insurance industry that refuses to settle legitimate medical malpractice claims early on. This leaves litigation as the only option to an aggrieved patient.
The pharmaceutical industry is right behind the insurance companies. They might as well be unregulated. The FDA would rather regulate advertising claims than protect persons from deaths due to Vioxx, diet pills and countless other drugs. So Mr. President, you might also consider putting some teeth to the FDA regulation to protect patient safety.
Mr. President, I agree we should put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. The way to do that is to regulate the yet unregulated insurance industry.