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President Obama’s Health Care Speech: Tort Reform Implications To Arbitration And Mediation

From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes.

President Obama’s speech (text is here and videos: Parts I, II, III, IV, and V) to a joint session of the U.S.Congress delivered on September 9, briefly mentioned a proposal to move the medical malpractice lawsuits out of the court system and before mediators, medical expert panels, and arbitrators. Although we have not been able to find out the details of the plan –it appears that it will be announced within a month– here is what some commentators are saying about it:

  • States Could Offer Template for Revising Malpractice Law. Some states (Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky, and others) have adopted a  system that allows doctors to disclose medical errors and then enter into mediation to resolve the dispute. Other states (Florida, Georgia, and Illinois) require plaintiffs to have their case reviewed by physicians before the case is filed in court. (read more here)
  • Obama Bucks the Trial Lawyers: Is Med-Mal Reform Imminent? A similar proposal on medical malpractice plan for tort reform was first outlined by President George W. Bush. According to this article, President Obama’s reform would be in the form of an executive order, not via legislation. (read more here)
  • Tort Reform: Obama’s Silver Bullet. The reform on top of the list, “early disclosure” by doctors was proposed by then-Senator Obama and co-sponsored by Hillary Clinton. The second reform would require any Complainant to obtain an affidavit stating the the claim has merits. According to this report, both measures have been accepted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee as amendments to the health-reform legislation. (read more here)

Stay tuned to Disputing for updates on this controversial topic!


Victoria VanBuren

Victoria VanBuren holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Southern Methodist University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.  She focuses on intellectual property law and arbitration. Known as a "worker bee," she is an active legal blogger and is currently pursuing a degree in computer science.… MORE >

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