Did Governor Rendell fix Medical Malpractice?

Not to impugn John Graham’s post on StateHouseCall, saying “Gov. Rendell Has One Health Reform Half Right,” but we think Pennsylvania gets less than a thumbs up on medical malpractice reform (See Evening Bulletin article, “Critics Dispute Rendell’s Assertion Malpractice Crisis Has Come To End“) .

Governor Rendell continues to oppose several tort reforms proposed by PA House Republicans and supported by the state NFIB, the PA Chamber, and the Politically Active Physicians Association, and his massive “Prescription for Pennsylvania” (aka RendellCare) makes no mention of tort reform.

In 2005, Governor Rendell vetoed the “Fair Share Act”, which would have amended joint and several liability so that no defendant could be held responsible for a great share of damages awarded than their share of liability. He had supported this reform in his 2002 campaign.

Governor Rendell touts the reduced payments from MCare as part of the reason why the Med-Mal “crisis” is over. This ignores the fact that MCare was created in 2002 as a “temporary solution” to the Med-Mal insurance costs- but has been extended year after year as no real solution has been enacted (in fact, we argue that the MCare fund serves to stave off any real solution).

Pennsylvania continues to have among the highest costs for medical malpractice insurance, and studies indicate that doctors continue to leave Pennsylvania for other states.

On the other hand, Govenor Rendell has said he is open to “other ideas“, including a proposal by State Sen. Mike Folmer – which includes many of the free-market reforms championed by the Commonwealth Foundation and other members of the Health Care Freedom Coalition.

We’ll be generous and give Gov. Rendell credit for being “25% right”.