"Some health care costs that are passed on to patients are entirely needless. This problem doesn't start in the waiting room. It doesn't start in the operating room. This problem starts in the courtroom. The picture has become clear across the country: huge payoffs for personal injury trial lawyers; smaller shares of compensation for those who have been wronged; and massive increases in medical liability insurance premiums, for doctors across the country. Our medical liability litigation system is broken." - Vice President Dick Cheney, Remarks at the Medical College of Ohio, July 19, 2004
Patients are paying the price.
The use of "junk science" -- the misuse and mischaracterization of science -- by personal injury lawyers in the courtroom limits treatment options and scares unknowing patients and juries. Learn more about junk science »
- More than 40 percent of pharmacists report that their patients have stopped taking medication because they found out that the drug might be involved in product liability litigation. (Pharmaceutical Liability Survey, Harris Interactive, July 15, 2003)
- Aggressive attorney advertising following the recall of one cholesterol-lowering drug sparked fear of all among patients across America. Some patients taking safe, heart-attack-preventing medications stopped their medication - thereby putting their health at risk. ("No Reason To Panic, Doctors Say: Baycol Recall Raises Anxiety of Patients," Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, August 29, 2001)
Frivolous lawsuits are driving up the cost of healthcare.
- Limiting unreasonable jury awards could cut healthcare costs by 5-9 percent, which would save $70-126 billion in health care costs per year. These savings would lower the cost of healthcare coverage and permit an additional 2.4 - 4.3 million Americans to obtain medical insurance. ("Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?" Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1996, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 3, 2003 and Confronting the New Health Care Crisis: Improving Health Care Quality and Lowering Costs By Fixing Our Medical Liability System, July 24, 2002)
- A 2006 study conducted by Tillinghast-Towers Perrin found that the U.S. tort system cost $261 billion in 2005, which translates to $880 per U.S. citizen and $4 less per person than in 2004 ($886 in 2004) (The 2006 Update on U.S. Tort Cost Trends, Tillinghast-Tower Perrin, December 2006)
Frivolous lawsuits limit access to healthcare.
- Almost 80 percent of Americans concerned that frivolous lawsuits have made it harder for them and their families to get affordable healthcare. (Sick of Lawsuits National Survey, Conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, August 16-18, 2005)
- Quality and access to healthcare is being threatened in many states. The American Medical Association has identified 20 states as presently facing a medical liability crisis. ("Mass. Named State in Medical Liability Crisis," American Medical Association, June 14, 2004)
- Women in almost half of the states in the country are experiencing disruptions in obstetrical care. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' has identified 23 states where medical liability problems threaten women's access to physicians delivering babies, a figure that is up from 16 states two years ago. ("ACOG's Red Alert on OB-GYN Care Reaches 23 States," American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, August 26, 2004)
- The impact of lawsuits on the healthcare system has encroached on critical doctor-patient decisions, such as deciding on course of treatment. More than 90% of high-risk medical specialists said that liability pressures were important in their decision to stop providing certain services. (American Medical Association Survey, PR Newswire, April 3, 2003)