NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 9, 2009

In August, former Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Dr. Howard Dean made a telling statement when he answered a question at a Congressional town hall meeting about the lack of medical liability reform in the current health care reform proposals.  Dean responded, "The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people that wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth."

  • According to a new study, sponsored by the Institute for Legal Reform, television advertisements soliciting plaintiffs for medical malpractice lawsuits increased from about 10,150 ads in 2004 to more than 156,000 ads in 2008 -- nearly a 1,400 percent increase in four years.
  • The study showed that spending for these ads increased from $3.8 million to nearly $62 million during this time period -- a 1,300 percent increase in 2008-adjusted dollars.

This finding is a window into what appears to be the growing role of medical malpractice cases in the overall litigation landscape, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Lawsuits are ultimately a business driven by the plaintiffs' bar, and when you see the marketing of medical malpractice lawsuits exploding like this, it tells you that these lawsuits are a growing sector within the larger lawsuit industry.  This new evidence of growth in plaintiffs' lawyer medical malpractice lawsuits comes amid an increased focus on medical liability reform -- or lack thereof -- in the larger health care reform debate.  It is yet another piece of evidence that we need meaningful medical liability reform as a key ingredient of any workable health care reform package, says the Chamber.

Source: Lisa Rickard, "Trial Lawyer TV Ads for MedMal Lawsuits Grew 1400 Percent," U.S. Chamber of Commerce, September 8, 2009.


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