• Sen. Durbin takes on the myths of “tort reform” Friday, February 26, 2010

    Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), speaking at the Feb. 25 health care summit called by President Obama, took on some of the misstatements about medical malpractice litigation that have been spread by supporters of so-called “tort reform.”  The video of Durbin’s entire speech is viewable above.  Here are some excerpts of his remarks:

    Before I was elected to Congress, I worked in a courtroom.  For years, I defended doctors and hospitals, and for years I sued them on behalf of people who were victims of medical malpractice.  So I’ve sat at both tables in a courtroom.

    …[A]s you lose accountability for what the doctors and hospitals are doing, more people will die — 4,800 a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s reference to this study….

    But let me tell you what, limiting the recovery for pain and suffering for someone who is entitled — entitled because they’re innocent victims — to be paid isn’t eliminating junk lawsuits.

    …If you were asked a basic question:  Over the last 20 years, has the number of paid malpractice claims in America doubled or been cut in half?  If you listen to most people here, you’d say it must have doubled.  No.  According to the Kaiser Foundation, they’ve been cut in half.

    Oh, but how much — how about the money that’s being paid for these malpractice claims?  Clearly, that’s gone through the roof.  No.  Between 2003 and 2008, the total amount paid for malpractice claims in America was cut in half from $8 billion to $4 billion.

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