The Voice of Business, Industry & the Professions Since 1942
North Carolina's largest business group proudly serves as the state chamber of commerce

Expansion Of Medical Malpractice Liability

Position:  NCCBI strongly opposes proposals which would expand medical liability to include employers and health plans.

Explanation: NCCBI opposes expansion of medical liability to employers and health plans for several reasons. First of all, the threat of lawsuits would discourage many employers from offering insurance at all, thereby leaving millions of Americans uninsured. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study conducted in February, 1998, 57 % of employers say they would be likely to stop providing health care coverage for their employees and dependents if expanded liability is passed.

Secondly, expansion of medical liability goes against the business community's long-standing support for tort reform because it would only create more expensive lawsuits and court delays. A New York Times editorial in April, 1998 says "jury awards in state courts for malpractice are notoriously capricious and do more to reward lawyers than patients."

Lastly, NCCBI opposes expanding this liability to health plans because, under current ERISA law, a patient can already sue his/her health plan in federal court, and the court may award attorney's fees, court costs, and the value of the benefit denied.

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