MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Letters Editor February 16, 2011
645 Albany Shaker Road
Albany, NY 12211
Tort Reform Required
Once again, trial lawyers and their front groups such as the “Center for Justice and
Democracy” assert that the dysfunctional medical liability adjudication system has
nothing to do with New York’s exorbitant taxes, high Medicaid costs, and its soaring
budget deficits (“49 Ways to Save Medicaid Money”, 2/16/11).
This contention is patently absurd.
Study after study demonstrates that we have an unsustainably expensive system for
resolving allegations of medical malpractice. Awards are made where there is no
negligence; often, those truly injured by negligence do not sue.
Government at every level is the largest payer for health care services. Former
Lieutenant Governor Ravitch, New York City Mayor Bloomberg, and the
Congressional Budget Office have recently highlighted that significant savings to
public budgets can accrue if we achieve meaningful medical liability reform.
Many proposals being advanced for consideration by the Medicaid Redesign Team
(MRT) would significantly decrease the already inadequate payments to hospitals and
physicians. Other proposals are being advanced that would significantly increase the
administrative burden for providing care. It is not possible to control Medicaid costs
by simply reducing and/or restructuring governmental payments.
There must be a comprehensive analysis of all elements of the cost of health care.
Medical liability costs are a huge component of Medicaid expenditures and health care
costs in general. The MRT, charged with finding solutions to maintain the Medicaid
system for the neediest among us, is absolutely correct in proposing medical liability tort
The enactment of meaningful medical liability reform is absolutely essential to achieve
immediate and substantial cost savings to health care in New York State. Any argument
to the contrary is without merit.
Leah McCormack, MD
Medical Society of the State of New York
110-20 73rd Road
Forest Hills, NY 11375-6312