CARH Makes Renewed Call to Action Following Election

November 5, 2004

The Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Healthcare (CARH) has issued a resounding call to action in the wake of this week’s election results.

Medical liability reform gained momentum on Tuesday with a successful ballot measure in Nevada, where voters chose to cap non-economic damages at $350,000 and limit legal fees, and increased support in the new Congress.

“This is a strong victory for medical liability reform,” said John Thomas, president of CARH. “Americans have faced diminished healthcare access for too long, and their message to lawmakers is clear, they are concerned over access to healthcare and want medical liability reform.”

Medical liability reform now identifies at least 53 supporters within the newly elected Senate, where a filibuster blocked common-sense reform last year.

“This election, Americans are sending lawmakers to Washington with a clear mandate – ensure access to quality care by stopping runaway jury awards and fraudulent lawsuits which force doctors, hospitals and nursing homes out of medical care services. The public wants this access at a lower cost, and the reforms we support have been estimated to reduce the cost to Medicare by as much as $50 billion per year and to private payers by more than $100 billion per year,” continued Thomas.

Since 1994, medical malpractice awards have reportedly tripled, resulting in skyrocketing medical liability insurance premiums that are forcing hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide to close their doors. This has prompted the American Medical Association (AMA) to identify at least 20 states that are suffering a healthcare crisis. As a result, more and more patients are reportedly losing access to healthcare due to the shortage of physicians, especially in higher- risk specialties such as obstetrics.

“CARH is excited to work closely with the new Congress and the Administration to enact real reform and ensure that Americans have access to quality care when they need it,” said Thomas.

“It’s time to end the filibuster and adopt reforms like those that have proven successful in California for 28 years and Texas, where in one year, hospitals report a 17 percent decline in liability costs, physicians are seeing double-digit declines in cost, and where physicians from non-reform states are moving, with 200 new OBs licensed to practice this year, and an impressive increase in licensed neurosurgeons and anesthesiologists,” added Thomas.

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