We have approximately 50 million Americans without health insurance. Health care cost following an accident or illness is the most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Cleary this is a system in need of change. Congress and the President are proposing universal health care legislation. Carefully crafted this legislation could be as beneficial to society as Social Security and Medicare.
Rutgers reports that Representative Dave Camp, the senior Republican on Ways and Means, said in connection with universal health care legislation that Republicans would focus on limiting liability lawsuits. http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-HealthcareReform/idUSTRE56D6L120090714 That approach violates a fundamental belief of our society: people are responsible for their conduct. Relieving any negligent party of some or all responsibility for the harm they caused shifts the financial burden from the wrongdoer to the injured party. If I accidentally killed two of your cows what would you think of a justice system that only required me to pay you for one? A half a cup of justice is a half a cup of injustice.
Furthermore, shifting the consequence of negligence to the victim does nothing to solve the problems stemming from lack of health insurance. Malpractice awards are a minor component of health care costs amounting to less than 1% of the health care dollar The Medical Malpractice Myth by Tom Baker. The impact to the system of shifting the burden of malpractice to the patient would be minor but devastating to the injured individual.
Our leaders must resist political pressure to surrender the right of injured parties in order to obtain universal health care.
Cumberland School of Law, Cum Laude graduate Peter F. Burns practice areas include business litigation will contests, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, and other matters of complex civil litigation. Mr. Burns is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and is a Certified Alabama Mediator; Board-Certified Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy, and a member of national and state Legal associations.