Letters: Malpractice reform case overstated

A doctor draws medicine into a syringe during A doctor draws medicine into a syringe during a kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2012

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In response to "Debate leaves questions" [Letters, Oct. 18], this writer should stop drinking the insurance lobby's Kool-Aid and face the facts: Many respected studies have proved that there is no medical malpractice crisis in New York. The writer has bought into the insurance lobby's propaganda, which has created an unnecessary tension between physicians and attorneys.

Expensive malpractice premiums, for both medical malpractice and legal malpractice coverage, are fattening the wallets of insurance executives. These executives greedily oppose sunshine laws, which would allow New Yorkers to look at insurers' financial records to discover whether the high cost of premiums, in the face of swollen profits and bloated executive salaries, is justified.

The suggestion that "lawyers would think twice about taking a questionable case if they might be on the hook for the other party's defense costs" has no basis in reality. In truth, plaintiffs' attorneys such as myself steer clear of questionable cases because of the extraordinarily expensive costs of prosecuting a medical malpractice case. We think thousands of times, not just twice, before we accept a case.

This writer wants to effectively close our courtrooms to injured consumers. Our nation's founders created a civil justice system where a jury and several layers of appellate courts will turn away a case that is without merit.

Paul F. Oliveri, Lynbrook

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In response to the letter calling for what sounds like tort reform, the writer says that malpractice insurance drives up the cost of health care. He may be a health insurance agent, but I question if he knows how insurance companies pay doctors.

One factor in health care costs is what insurance carriers pay doctors. What a doctor pays for malpractice insurance has no bearing on that. Doctors sign a contract agreeing to accept whatever the carrier will pay for any given service. The doctor can bill whatever he or she wants, but the fee is governed by a reasonable and customary price guide set by the carrier.

Ed Miglino, Copiague

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