SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Andy Rauwolf


October 13, 2009

Thirty years ago my family doctor explained to me that one of the biggest reasons he had to charge so much for his services was because of the high cost of his malpractice insurance. Since that time this problem has only gotten worse.

According to Dr. Michael Lynch in a recent article in the Concord Monitor the cost of malpractice insurance is forcing doctors to leave high-risk specialties in droves, creating dangerous shortages in available specialized care. In the last few decades lawyers have skillfully convinced jurors to award extremely large settlements to victims who often could never hope to earn that much in their remaining lifetime. According to Dr. Lynch, in a recent controversial judgment a lawyer made just under $400,000.00 on a $1.75 million dollar lawsuit. Not bad for a few weeks pay, and this was one of the smaller cases. Malpractice lawsuits have become a multi-billion dollar industry in the legal profession in our country, often targeting innocent doctors and hospitals.

Presently, doctors are forced to order many costly unnecessary tests on patients just to protect themselves in the event of a predatory lawsuit. According to Senator Lisa Murkowski, "defensive medicine costs healthcare billions of dollars annually." Along with unnecessary tests, hospitals pay the salaries of nurses and physicians who are tied up in court, often for weeks at a time, when they should be caring for the sick and injured. Most hospitals are now required to hire full time risk managers and lawyers to defend against these cases.

If reasonable limits were placed on malpractice lawsuits, (tort reforms), the cost of insurance to doctors and hospitals would plummet, unnecessary tests would stop, and billions of dollars in savings in health care would be passed on to the public. In addition, millions more people could afford insurance, and many lives would be saved.

So what would be the cost of tort reforms? The answer is ZERO! So why is congress ignoring cheapest, most obvious solution to health care, and instead proposing complicated plans and government options that will cost every citizen thousands of dollars in the next decade?

According to Senator Orin Hatch, they don't want to upset the "special interests". WHO ARE THESE SPECIAL INTERESTS?"


Surprised? According to the Congressional Quarterly, lawyers make up 38% of the legislative branch, 100% of the judicial branch, and 100% of the executive branch. The three branches of government are now 80% in the hands of lawyers, who only comprise 1/2 of 1% of our population. The three branches of government intended by our founding fathers to serve as checks and balances on each other are all in the same hands.

According to the Center for Responsible Politics, in 2008 lawyers contributed $233,912,817 to political campaigns, 76% to Democrats, and 23% to Republicans. Already, lawyers have contributed over $25,000,000.00 to the 2010 election cycle, 81% to Democrats, and 18% to Republicans. That wouldn't have anything to do with blocking tort reforms would it?

We need to start paying attention to our elected officials now more than ever, and just whose interests they are protecting. It appears that most of them are much more interested in padding their own pockets than they are in meaningfully lowering the cost of our health care. Government (Lawyer) run health care is a costly solution.

We must demand tort reform from our elected representatives, especially from those Congressmen, Senators and the President who hail from the legal profession.

Andy Rauwolf
Ketchikan, AK

Received October 12, 2009 - Published October 13, 2009


Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

SitNews ©2009
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska