Is Pennsylvania’s Medical Malpractice Crisis Over?
Governor Rendell has declared that Pennsylvania no longer has a “crisis” in medical malpractice lawsuits, citing recent declines in the number of suits filed. Critics claimed that reform have weeded out junk lawsuits, but there is still a high cost of litigation which continues to make Pennsylvania unfriendly to doctors.
Pacific Research Institute gave Pennsylvania a lowly ranking of 45th out of 50 states on their 2008 Tort Liability Index, including 36th on Medical Malpractices Losses.
Indeed, while Governor Rendell has proposed dropping the MCare Abatement, a subsidy from the cigarette tax – to fill the budget gap and because he refused to renew it unless the legislature passed RendellCare, which they refused – doctors and hospitals will still be required to pay into MCare. MCare is the state program which supplements health care providers’ private medical malpractice insurance, for lawsuit awards over $500,000.
Instead, Governor Rendell should end MCare entirely, and embrace real tort reform, including joint and several liability – limiting a party’s share of the liability costs to their share of the responsibility – and caps on non-economic damages.