Letter to the Editor: Evidence Lacking

The Oklahoman
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Cost control: Liability limits needed in reform” (Our Views, July 26) suggests that limiting an injured patient’s ability to file malpractice claims would somehow counter rising health care costs. The evidence doesn’t bear this out. A new study by Americans for Insurance Reform reveals that medical malpractice premiums and claims combined represent less than one half of 1 percent of overall health care costs. If Congress eliminated every medical malpractice lawsuit in the country, including all legitimate cases, health care costs would hardly change.
Health care costs are going up just as fast in states with caps on damages as in states without such limits. Further limiting the rights of patients would only make hospitals less safe while the costs of medical error would remain — with taxpayers likely on the hook to cover the costs.
Andy Hoffman, New York City, N.Y.
Hoffman is a policy analyst with the Center for Justice & Democracy, founded by film director Michael Moore. Americans for Insurance Reform is affiliated with the Center for Justice & Democracy

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