Hundreds of millions of health care dollars are needlessly being wasted every year, not to fend off illness, but rather to fend off lawsuits. As a physician, I can attest that more than the costly liability insurance doctors and hospitals must carry today, the real strain on our health care system comes from the practice of defensive medicine. As high as 25% of the treatments, procedures, and tests carried out by medical professionals every day are intended solely as a defense against lawsuits. These exercises do not harm the patient, but they subject them and the system to significant unneeded costs simply so that enterprising trial lawyers will be dissuaded from unfounded accusations of negligence or mistreatment. Aided by the astronomical dollar amounts pursued by the trial bar, a lottery mentality has emerged.
Rather than based on expert medical opinions, judgments today are rooted in claims that do not square with sound medicine. To resolve this growing impediment to quality care and to lower health care costs, I have introduced an innovative solution for civil justice. At the root of the Health Care Overuse Reform Today Act, or HealthCOURT Act (H.R. 3372), is the creation of new Health Courts that specialize in malpractice claims and take into account the opinions and best practices of medical specialty societies - those doctors actually in the trenches taking care of patients every day. When judgments are based on sound medicine, we will see a remarkable drop in the number of baseless lawsuits. This will allow doctors and patients to focus on quality care and ensure health care dollars are being spent to save and improve lives.
Congressman Price received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan and completed his Orthopaedic Surgery residency at Emory University. First elected to Congress, representing the Sixth District of Georgia, in November 2004, Price was re-elected with broad support in 2006 and 2008. Prior to going to Washington, Price served four terms in the Georgia State Senate. In Congress, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee (RSC) during the 111th Congress. The RSC is committed to providing principled, common sense solutions to all of our nation’s challenges.