U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, proposed an amendment to the Democrats' budget being debated on the Senate floor that would instruct the Senate Judiciary Committee to produce savings of over $60 billion through medical malpractice reform. The amendment has garnered support from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the Ohio Hospital Association, and the American Hospital Association.
"President Obama's big-government health care bill was a missed opportunity to provide high-quality, accessible, and affordable health care to families struggling through a weak economy," said Portman. "By tackling our broken medical liability system head on, my amendment will reduce wasteful spending on defensive medicine, and in turn will free up resources that can be used to save patients money and shrink Washington's trillion-dollar deficits."
"AAMC-member institutions find themselves increasingly burdened by rising medical malpractice premiums. To cover the rising premium costs, many teaching hospitals and faculty physicians are forced to focus increasing time and resources on medical liability concerns rather than their core missions of providing quality patient care, research, and education," said Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer. "For these reasons, the AAMC supports comprehensive medical liability reform, which addresses the factors behind these continually increasing insurance premiums while providing fair and appropriate compensation for those patients having suffered injury. We believe Portman's amendment is a good first step and represents a serious attempt to begin the medical liability reform conversation."
"The Ohio Hospital Association strongly supports efforts toward a smarter medical liability system that relies on evidence-based standards, distinguishes serious cases from frivolous ones, reduces the costs of delivering health care, and produces prompt and fair compensation for injured patients," said Mike Abrams, President and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association. "Ohio's hospitals applaud Senator Portman for his leadership on medical liability reform, and we endorse his proposed amendment."
"The American Hospital Association is pleased to support Senator Portman's amendment to the 2014 Budget Resolution," said Rick Pollack, Executive Vice President, American Hospital Association. "This amendment requires federal savings to be achieved through medical malpractice reform. America's hospitals support passage of meaningful liability reform, because the high costs associated with the current system not only harm hospitals and physicians, but also patients and their communities."
In the absence of medical malpractice reform, frivolous lawsuits will continue to incentivize defensive medicine and wasteful spending on unnecessary tests and studies. This yields higher premiums, fewer doctors, and more costs for the private sector and the government.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that medical malpractice reform could reduce the deficit by over $62 billion over 10 years. In addition, CBO notes that reform would reduce spending for health care services.