On March 17th, congressional GOP leaders attempted to pass a medical malpractice reform bill which has been a top priority of the Federal Physicians Association for quite some time. If allowed to pass, the bill would have placed a severe nationwide cap on any claimable economic damages and attorney fees involved in medical malpractice cases. This cap would have two goals—to discourage malpractice lawsuits from being filed and to change the rules of evidence in civil cases in order to make it harder for medical malpractice plaintiffs to succeed in court.
Similar reforms have been enacted in a number of states already. Supporters claim that such reforms can lower the costs of healthcare while increasing physician supply, but there isn’t much in the way of actual academic evidence which supports that claim. The argument for enacting a similar reform on a nationwide level seems to focus on forcing physicians to not base a decision as to where they practice on any statewide reforms, but as Dean Clancy, U.S. Congress vet and advocate of the healthcare industry argues, the choice of where a physician wishes to practice shouldn’t be decided on by Congress. Physicians are free to practice wherever they wish. They shouldn’t be compared to imported cargo.