Letter to the Editor: Capping damages will hurt health care system

The Buffalo News
Monday, June 29, 2009

The News editorial, “Obama misses an opportunity,” suggests that the jury verdicts for patients injured by medical malpractice should be capped by politicians in Albany or Washington. We do not agree. It’s not just that one-size-fits-all caps are unfair to patients with legitimate injuries caused by negligent physicians.
The reality is that capping damages, which limits the liability of unsafe hospitals, will make our health care system less safe and more costly. Preventable medical errors already kill more than 7,000 New Yorkers in hospitals each year, and cause hundreds of thousands of injuries. If those responsible do not adequately compensate the injured, patients will have to turn to taxpayer-funded health and disability programs for help.
Taxpayers have already been asked for billions of dollars to bail out Wall Street banks. They should not now have to give up their rights to fair compensation when they’ve been hurt through no fault of their own, or have to support others when juries have already decided on the compensation they deserve.
Andy Hoffman
Attorney/Policy Analyst Center for Justice & Democracy

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