PCI Praises President’s Commitment to Legal Reform

October 21, 2004

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Carl Parks, today released the following statement as President Bush spoke to the medical community during a campaign stop Thursday in Pennsylvania:

“During a campaign stop today in Pennsylvania, President Bush is expected to discuss the effects of rising liability costs on small businesses. Over the past four years, the president has vowed to reform the legal system to protect those businesses.

“In the vice presidential debate, Dick Cheney talked about his visit to a Minnesota aircraft manufacturing plant. That plant, the vice president said, would be able to hire 200 more workers if it weren’t for the growing cost of liability insurance.

“Unfortunately, stories like this are all becoming all too common in the United States. Minus meaningful reforms, the tort system will continue to have a debilitating impact on the nation’s economy.

“PCI commends the president and vice president for their continued commitment to legal reform. This dedication to enactment of meaningful reforms is essential for economic growth and a healthy, robust insurance market.

“According to a 2003 Tillinghast Towers Perrin report, the average American family pays more than $3000 each year in “tort tax” as a result of our dysfunctional legal system. This amounts to a $230 billion dollar burden on the American economy, increasing prices for a wide variety of consumer goods and services – from ladders to laproscopy – and costing Americans jobs.

“Medical liability has reached a crisis stage in 20 states. Medical liability premiums continue to rise and access to health care services is diminished in states that allow excessive damage awards unrelated to economic harm suffered.

“The American people are all too aware of the need for legal reform. A recent Winston Group Survey done for PCI of 1000 registered votes found that 80% of Americans believe there is too much litigation in the United States and 74% believe lawsuits cost consumers money in the form of higher prices. The American people understand the need for reform and PCI is pleased the president and vice president understand the need for it as well.”

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