Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Joanne Doroshow: Rich New York Hospital Execs To Use Brain-Damaged Babies As Political Bargaining Chip

Joanne Doroshow, of the Center for Justice and Democracy has written an article about the connection between Medicaid and tort reform in New York. Here are the first couple of paragraphs: "Whatever has been going on behind the closed doors of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team, loaded with self-dealing lobbyists and hospital executives who make Wall Street level salaries, it's time for New Yorkers to say - enough. Many have already complained about how this Team has been dominated by hospital and industry lobbyists, with consumer or patient advocates essentially excluded. Now we find out that these lobbyists are using this process not to save Medicaid money, but to execute a backroom deal that will create a financial windfall for negligent hospitals, incompetent health care providers and their insurance companies. Essentially, their proposal (known a Proposal #131), which they intend to push through the budget process with no public airing, would severely limit hospitals' liability for killing or injuring patients. Yet we know that many New York hospitals have notoriously bad safety records, especially in low-income communities, and too many babies suffer brain damage at birth as the result of poor medical care. These children, who are often on Medicaid, are able to get off Medicaid because settlements or verdicts pay for their needs. However, this Team is proposing a Draconian "cap" on non-economic damages in all medical malpractice cases, an industry-crafted measure that arbitrarily limits compensation and promotes a kind of caste system by branding entire classes of low- or non-earners in our society (seniors, children, women who do not work outside the home, and the poor), as worth less than their wealthier counterparts, and make it difficult for these cases to even make it to court. But here is what's even more horrific: ...." ....Go here to continue reading this article.

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