Malpractice at heart of new proposal

Newly introduced legislation by Reps. Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and Christopher Cox (R-CA) to fix the medical malpractice crisis is a major step forward in placing the interests of patients before those of personal injury lawyers, according to the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP).

AAHP calls frivolous litigation the greatest threat to high-quality, affordable health care. Karen Ignagni, AAHP president and CEO, says the legislation could directly improve health care in the country.

"Personal injury lawyer attacks on doctors and other members of the health care community have driven up health care costs, decreased the quality of care patients receive, and prevented millions of Americans from accessing the health care system," she says. "Personal injury lawyers have benefited at the expense of consumers for far too long. The HEALTH Act will protect patients by implementing many of the same provisions that have been successful in California for decades."

The cost of litigation

According to an AAHP study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, litigation is responsible for 7%, or $5 billion, of new health care costs — equivalent to the price of health insurance for 2 million Americans.

"The culture of blame and litigation is destroying our health care system," Ignagni says. "Too often, fear of litigation takes precedence over what is best for patients. We need a new accountability paradigm where today’s rampant liability is replaced with fair and efficient solutions for patients."