Medical Liability Crisis Not a Hit with America’s Pastime

April 10, 2003

The escalating health care crisis that has reportedly been jeopardizing patient access to quality medical care across the country is beginning to claim victims in other areas of American life as well, starting with baseball.

In a game this week with the Boston Red Sox against the Toronto Blue Jays, a Major League Baseball franchise that plays a majority of its games in the United States, did not have a team doctor on duty, according to an article in Wednesday’s Boston Globe. Three team doctors reportedly resigned last week because the Canadian Medical Protection Association, an umbrella group that set up a fund to protect against medical liability suits, dropped coverage for any doctors dealing with NBA, NHL, or MLB players.

“The threat of medical liability suits in the United States has gotten so out of control that our athletes – and the very foundation of our national pastime – are being threatened by this crisis,” said John Thomas, chairman of the Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Health Care (CARH), a national organization working to reform medical liability laws.

Years of reported frivolous legal action by personal injury lawyers have driven up medical liability costs to the point where doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care professionals are being forced to limit the services they provide or close altogether.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the HEALTH Act (H.R. 5) earlier this year, but the Senate is reportedly stalling on companion legislation. Supporters of reform say the HEALTH Act is a common-sense approach to reform based on a state law with a 27-year track record of success in California.

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