When JFK made that famous inaugural speech on January 20, 1961, he probably wasn’t thinking of the healthcare reform issues which would come to a head nearly 50 years later. Nevertheless, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” still rings true today.
When Barack Obama took office 48 years later, in his inaugural speech, he told us something similar. He said that the government would not make the changes for us, but that it would help us make them for ourselves. This universal truth holds strong throughout all of our lives. Others may help us, but the change must begin with us, and it is we who must see those changes through to complete fruition.
The debates rage, and committees meet. Politicians do what politicians do, seemingly determined not to enact necessary tort reform. Medical Justice is not sitting back and waiting to see what the government will do for us. Instead, Medical Justice is taking steps to turn ideas into the meaningful, functional changes that we need; Medical Justice is doing what must be done for our country.
It is a foregone conclusion that real change in U.S. healthcare cannot happen while doctors continue to be sued for frivolous reasons at such alarming rates and for such lucrative sums. When there is that much potential monetary gain, there will always be people willing to do what is not fair to get their hands on that money. The threat of frivolous lawsuits is at the heart of the matter.
Physicians pay a hundred billion dollars per year for medical malpractice insurance. The cost of providing insurance to the uninsured? Amazingly enough, almost exactly the same price tag as the cost of all of that medical malpractice insurance! Clearly, the money would be better spent providing coverage than providing payouts for greedy individuals. Moreover, eliminating these vulgar actions would allow physicians to return their focus to providing the best medical care possible, and not worrying about potential frivolous suits.
Frivolous lawsuits can be thought of as a form of “theft”. When someone gets an unwarranted judgment or settlement, aren’t they getting away with stealing? And encouraged to try to steal again? It is the smart thing to do, the right thing to do, and our civic duty, to fight against that “theft”.
The “theft” isn’t limited to the monetary judgment either. It steals the practice’s time, saps their energy, and discourages capable people from becoming physicians. All across the nation, young doctors are deciding to make a living some other way, because the direct and unseen costs of frivolous malpractice suits make it difficult to do so as a physician. One doctor reports that after everything is paid off, she keeps only $20,000 a year! Why would anyone go through all that education, struggling and suffering, and go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, to make $20k a year?
As Kennedy pointed out back in 1961, when talking about our nation’s enemies, “We dare not tempt them with weakness.” Those lawsuits are the enemy of the people of this country. They dig deep into everyone’s pocket, reduce the quality of care we can provide to our patients, and sow unwarranted suspicion.
Medical Justice stands strong and fast. The solidarity that Medical Justice has with its members ensures that those unscrupulous individuals and their greedy plaintiff attorneys will get no reward from shaking us down. Word gets around fast. When plaintiff attorneys find out that a physician is not going to roll over and produce a free meal ticket, they quickly move on to more likely victims. When enough physicians within a state become members of Medical Justice, the unethical lawyers will move to greener pastures. When enough doctors across the country fight back, plaintiff attorneys will have to abandon their special predatory habits and find other ways to make a living. Then malpractice premiums will return to sane figures, and doctors will be able to focus solely on healing patients.
While the debates continue and politicians do what politicians do, ask not what your country can do for you. Rather, do what is good for you, and for your country. To fight against frivolous lawsuits is what’s good for us all. While the politicians wage war amongst themselves, Medical Justice continues to do what it is necessary, taking on the healthcare crisis by fighting for physicians. We encourage and implore you to join us.