Tucker Carlson vs. Joanne Doroshow

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

CNN, 2003.

JOANNE DOROSHOW, CENTER FOR JUSTICE & DEMOCRACY: Yes there is an insurance problem. There are a lot of people, a lot of doctors out there that are being price gouged by the insurance industry.  

But the solution to their problem and all the other insurance problems is to reform the insurance industry. What you don't want do is take away the rights of people like Steven Olson (ph), who is a brain damaged and blind child in California who requires 24-hour care, who is a result of a horrible cap on damages, a cruel law in California. His family has a fraction of the amount of money they need to take care of that child.

TUCKER CARLSON: Joanne, the idea -- I want to show you a -- I think, a fascinating chart. The only interesting insurance chart I've ever seen that shows the difference -- the fact that trial lawyers are behind the premium spike. Florida, general surgeon pays 110 grand a year in 2000, $174,000 a year purely in insurance. In California since tort reform, he pays $57,000.  

DOROSHOW: First of all, in California there is the strongest insurance regulatory law in the country which has kept premiums down to the extent they are down.  

But you look at a situation like Missouri, which has the similar law as California and has been in effect for 17 years, a hard cap on damages, lots of tort reform, they're suffering one of the worst insurance crises for doctors in that state's history. So much that the governor has appointed a task force to deal with it.  

The cap on damages and so-called tort restrictions are not the answer. The only answer is to reform the insurance industry and I do not know why people like Dr. Palmisano and the rest of the AMA do not join with consumer groups like ours to advocate for strong reforms of the insurance industry... 

CARLSON: The average trial lawyer gets half -- or the average plaintiff gets half. The average trial lawyer gets a third of the settlement.  

DOROSHOW: And they get nothing if they lose the case.  

CARLSON: But do you think it's fair if a child is gravely injured through the fault of a doctor, why should some trial lawyer with his own private plane get a third of the settlement? That's outrageous. 

DOROSHOW: These cases are extremely expensive to bring, and that's why so few people do sue. Only one in eight people who are actually injured by medical malpractice bring even a claim for compensation. They have to put up huge amounts of money to prove these cases.  

RALPH NADER: This whole thing is bogus. Here's the key thing. You take the entire premiums doctors have to pay to those insurance companies. Not only is it less than what we spend on dog food, $6 billion, but if you divided $6 billion by all the practicing doctors in America and spread the risk, they would pay less than $9,000 a year in malpractice insurance premiums. This is a manipulation by overclassified medical specialties in order to put it to the obstetrician to get that kind of thing.  

CARLSON: Dr. Palmisano, you get the last word.

PALMISANO: Thank you very much. Well, it's important in medicine to use science, and if somebody has a claim you need to validate it. I would tell you to go to the Medical Society of New Jersey and see the latest study by Tellinghas (ph) regarding that caps do work, $250,000 non-economic cap. Go to the Pennsylvania study, go to the hhs.gov Web site.  

What we need to do is have reasoned debate. So if Mr. Nader, Miss Doroshow, they have figures. Let other experts look at it. What we're saying is their analysis is not credible. What we're concerned about is the patient. Let's not forget the patient. Let's make sure we have doctors. You can't go to the store later and say I'll take six obstetricians and 15 neurosurgeons. They don't come that way.  

NADER: To prevent 80,000 death a year by bad doctors...

CARLSON: Dr. Palmisano, thank you very much. Thank you very much.  

NADER: Joanne Doroshow, thank you.  

CARLSON: I'm sorry that we're out of time.

For the full transcript, click here.

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