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Medical malpractice and tort reform

Health care costs are a serious concern for many Americans. The price of a serious injury or illness is bankruptcy and financial ruin for all too many families in Iowa and across the country. The fear caused by runaway health care costs has led to the rise of a particular proposed remedy known as tort reform.

What is tort reform?

Put simply, tort reform changes the rules of our civil justice system to stop injured people from going to court to get the money a jury says they deserve. There are several ways to accomplish this, from putting a hard cap on damage awards (no more than $250,000, for example) to making it more difficult or even impossible to get the case in front of a jury. The states have found many different ways to penalize the victims the medical malpractice.

Misdiagnosing the problem

Health care in the United States is too expensive. People should not have to choose between needed medical care and insolvency. Unfortunately, the problem has been misdiagnosed.

Publicity campaigns have targeted a handful of cases to make it seem as though juries hand out ridiculous sums of money to people who don’t deserve it. Medical malpractice claims have steadily decreased for years now. Yet, the cost of health care has continued to rise. Where tort reform has been passed, the impact has been on insurance company profitability, not health care costs. Patients who have been injured by incompetent care should have the right to present the case to a jury. That jury should have the power to grant the compensation it sees fit. The victims of medical malpractice have suffered enough.

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