Earlier this week, as part of his annual State of the Union address, President Obama expressed his willingness to work with Congress to pass medical malpractice reform legislation in 2011. He now joins with many members of the new Congress who are already committed to reforming America’s broken medical liability system.
The situation is stark: at a time of rapidly-increasing health care costs, the current medical liability system imposes major expenses on patients, health care providers and taxpayers. A study released last September in the respected journal Health Affairs estimated the total cost of the U.S. medical malpractice system at $55.6 billion per year. And it’s not just cost, but quality that suffers when doctors are forced to perform defensive medicine because of lawsuit fears.
So the president’s words were very welcome. We stand committed to working with him and the Congress to pass meaningful medical malpractice reform in 2011.