As the details of the healthcare bill continue to be worked out, there have been numerous questions regarding tort reform and a lot of heated debate.

Last fall, President Obama stated that he would at least consider the thought of urging Congress to include some type of tort reform provision in the healthcare bill.  So, did the tort reform provision make it into the 2,000+ pages of the healthcare bill?  According to The Wall Street Journal, “the Senate included a provision that would provide $50 million for grants to states that want to launch these projects (to test medical tort reform). And since the House effectively approved the Senate version of the bill, this is what we’re left with on the tort-reform front: $50 million in demonstration projects.”

The Senate bill requires states that obtain this grant money to create an alternative to current tort litigation.

I have yet to hear of any unbiased evidence that imposing Draconian caps on recovery for seriously injured people would reduce medical costs. In reality, it is this group of people who would be impacted the most by these caps and there is a strong probability that they would ultimately be forced to rely on public assistance. 

Here’s what I think about tort reform – it should be voluntary.  If you think that tort reform is a good idea, then why not contract with your medical provider in advance of your surgery to limit your recovery, just in case medical malpractice is committed?  You are free to do so, but I doubt you would be comfortable with making such a contract.
Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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