Doctors' activism buoys malpractice bill revival

Houston Chronicle
Sunday, January 19, 2003

Across the country, doctors are walking off the job and joining protest rallies. A new strategy by organized labor? Hardly. Physicians say they were inspired to take to the streets by President Bush.

Donald Palmisano, president of the American Medical Association, traces the doctors' revolt to a private meeting last July in a High Point, N.C., hospital conference room just before Bush delivered a speech demanding that Congress pass legislation to limit some damage awards in malpractice cases. 

Seated with patients and doctors, Bush vowed to make medical malpractice revisions a top legislative priority. "We can fix it now, but we need your help," he said, according to Palmisano.

But Bush faces determined opposition from trial lawyers, patients' rights groups and their Democratic allies in Congress. Armed with their own studies, foes argue that insurance rates fluctuate based on the overall economy and the performance of insurers' investments.

"The proposals will do nothing to improve premium rates and availability, and have terrible consequences for innocent people who have suffered catastrophic injuries due to medical errors," said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of theCenter for Justice & Democracy and co-founder of Americans for Insurance Reform.

They accuse the White House of pushing malpractice law changes to reward physicians who helped Republicans in the midterm elections. In late October, the National Republican Congressional Committee ran a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal thanking its "physicians advisory board."his lottery," Olsen said.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us