Rudy Marconi, Ridgefield first selectman and Democratic exploratory candidate for governor, has called for medical tort reform in Connecticut in order to avert a “full-fledged doctor shortage.” “Connecticut is not doctor-friendly, and ballooning medical liability premiums are a big part of the reason,” Marconi said. “We’re losing doctors in Connecticut, and we must act to prevent a public health crisis. Imagine having to drive to the next town just to find a pediatrician.”
States that have enacted reforms have seen positive results, Marconi said. “Texas has seen 15,000 doctors open practices or return to the state since 2004,” he noted.
Marconi called for the following specific reforms:
· Separate liability from the award. Claims should be screened for merit by a panel before a case can go forward. If there is no liability, there should be no award.
· Cap non-economic damages. Recently one jury awarded a record $38 million in a case in Stamford. The only people who profit from awards like this are lawyers.
· Truly limit lawyer’s fees. Close the loophole that lets them grab more than their fair share.
· Provide a pool of impartial expert witnesses. Today’s hired-gun witnesses make a mockery of justice. We need screened, objective experts whom juries can trust.
· Make liability proportionate. Right now, any defendant could be economically liable for the whole award. They should be responsible for only for their fair share.
Marconi said those opposed to tort reform, primarily personal injury lawyers, have been motivated by self-interest. “There is an element of greed here,” he said. “This is evident in the way some lawyers require clients to sign a waiver that lets them charge more than the law specifies.”
Tort reform is not a “magic pill” that will fix healthcare, Marconi said. “I continue to support a range of efforts to extend coverage to all Americans. But medical liability tort reform is necessary if we are to continue receiving quality healthcare in Connecticut.”
Marconi’s full statement on tort reform can be found at: http://bit.ly/bm7dGd