NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 12, 2004

Medical tribunals based on a no-fault system could fix our dysfunctional tort system, say attorney Roslyn Rosenwasser Ross and Dr. Gilbert Ross, executive director of the American Council on Science and Health.

Escalating liability premiums and multimillion dollar judgments have caused doctors to flee, drug companies to eschew potentially lifesaving but risky new drugs, and put entire industries into bankruptcy. Useful products have been withdrawn, and costs passed on to consumers while enriching trial lawyers.

Medical tribunals could accommodate local custom and practice, but create the beneficial expectation of some degree of uniformity and rationality, say Ross and Ross. Benefits include:

  • Major cost savings from the reduction in baseless litigation.
  • Further savings would come as the endemic practice of defensive medicine -- "health care" delivered to look good upon subsequent examination, not for any health benefit -- diminished dramatically.

Tribunals would be composed of people with experience in various fields, but not technocrats; good faith and impartiality are the only absolute requirements. They would be committed to rendering judgments free of emotion and beholden to no pressure groups, say Ross and Ross.

Source: Roslyn Rosenwasser Ross and Dr. Gilbert Ross, "Current Tort System Needs Healing Hand of Medical Tribunals," Investor's Business Daily, August 11, 2004.


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