Gingrey Responds to Obama: Let’s Meet on Medical Liability Reform
Congressman Answers President’s Call for Bipartisan Solutions with Meeting Request
Congressman Phil Gingrey requested a meeting with President Barack Obama today to discuss medical liability reform. In his Address to a Joint Session of Congress last week on health care reform, President Obama expressed a willingness to incorporate medical liability reform into health care reform, as well as expressed the desire for bipartisan solutions.
Congressman Gingrey has introduced a medical liability reform bill in the 109th, 110th, and 111th Congresses, with the bill passing the House in the 109th Congress. As an OB/GYN doctor for almost 30 years, Congressman Gingrey knows firsthand the very real impact that the lack of meaningful medical liability reform has on practicing doctors.
Congressman Gingrey’s letter to the President is as follows:
September 14, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
In your speech before last week’s Joint Session of Congress, you expressed an interest in true bipartisan solutions for the United States health care system. I appreciate your statement to the American people on your desire to listen to serious proposals that aim to lower the cost and improve the quality of health care in our country. I would respectfully like to take you up on your offer.
Mr. President, you identified the need to achieve cost savings in our health care system to pay for health care reform. You also spoke of the need to ensure that all Americans have quality, affordable health care choices. I believe that true medical liability reform can achieve these worthy goals.
Indeed, states that lack meaningful medical liability reforms like those found in my bill, H.R.1086, have found insurance companies either substantially raising prices or leaving markets altogether. Increasingly, physicians in states without liability reform are choosing to stop practicing medicine, abandon high-risk parts of their practices, or move their business to other states.
As an OB/GYN physician who has practiced medicine for roughly 30 years, I have seen these results first hand. Today, 1 in 7 obstetricians no longer deliver babies and 49% of counties nationwide do not have an OB/GYN. Unfortunately, this trend is common among most medical communities and is contributing to our current shortage of physicians in the United States.
Additionally, a lack of reasonable medical liability reform has dramatically influenced the very practice of medicine. The mere threat of litigation is prompting physicians to practice “defensive medicine.” The simple reality is that fear of ambitious lawyers and protracted legal proceedings are directly leading to the ordering of unnecessary tests which help safeguard against frivolous lawsuits, but also raise the cost of health care.
The results of inaction are clear. A lack of meaningful tort reform decreases competition among insurance plans in some state markets like Alabama and decreases the chances a sick patient can find a physician when ill.
Mr. President, the time for medical liability reform is now – it cannot wait for another study on the subject. While there are some very contentious areas of disagreement between Members of Congress regarding health reform, I was heartened to hear you cite medical liability reform as one area of compromise. I believe that medical liability reform can fundamentally change our system of health care for the better. Therefore, I am hereby requesting a meeting with you to further discuss this issue and fulfill the promise to the American people to reform our system of health care so that everyone can access and secure affordable health care.