Women and children last

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

TP.c: I thought California showed that insurance reform, enacted after tort reform, was what finally lowered insurance rates. So why don't doctors focus on that remedy? 

Joanne Doroshow: Well, that's a very good question, because we have been, time and again, asking doctors why they will not join with consumer groups that have been advocating strong regulations of the insurance industry, as in California, which appears to be the only thing that's actually working to keep rates under control. And they won't join us, and I think the reason is the lobbyists for these medical societies want one thing—they want caps on damages. 

They want limits on the liability of doctors that commit malpractice, because they believe that by making it more difficult for victims to sue and get compensation, fewer of them will ever sue. And I believe that they use the insurance problem, which comes around every 10 years or so, as an excuse to go to legislators and say, 'Hey, you've got to cap damages. You have to enact tort reform and other restrictions on patients' rights.' 

I believe there probably are doctors out there who understand that tort reform is not going to help them with their insurance problems. But I don't think we're hearing from them. We're hearing from the lobbyists who are trying to get caps on damages.
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