Rep. Barney Frank has decided to join the tort “reform” movement, asking that those who’ve been catastrophically injured should pitch in more to help with national financial troubles caused by others. In an article today in The Hill, he had this to say:
“I also am ready, as a liberal, to look at the whole question of malpractice and liability reform,” Frank said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, according to a transcript. “People who are injured ought to be compensated, but I do think that that’s something that I would throw in if we had an otherwise overall compromise [on the national debt], because I recognize everybody’s got to give something to get this.”
In other words, those who have been most badly injured (the ones most likely to be most affected by restrictions on civil suits) haven’t sacrificed enough by virtue of their disabilities, diminished (or lost) employment, and destruction of lifestyle.
Now, according to Frank, they also need to give some level of immunity to those whose negligence caused them to be injured in the first place.
And somebody in his office ought to give him a copy of the recent study from Columbia Presbyterian/Cornell. That’s the one where the obstetrics and gynecology department lowered their malpractice costs by over 90% by improving patient safety. You see, the best way to lower malpractice costs is to lower the incidents of malpractice. But if you choose immunity instead, you will only end out killing patients by killing the incentive to improve.
See also: Why Medical Malpractice “Reform” Will Increase the Deficit, Not Reduce It (Joanne Doroshow @ HuffPo)
Photo by Martin Schoeller, The New Yorker
Let Rep. Frank try his “give until it hurts” schtick on the senior executives at medical liability and health care insurance carriers.
This picture may be a little unfair, Jon Stewart.