Wayne Willoughby argued that tort reform amounts to “stripping away the rights of injured patients” (“‘Tort reform’ won’t fix health care,” Commentary, Dec. 18). But America’s current tort system is hardly adept at protecting patients’ interests. Very little of each tort-cost dollar goes to compensate the injured.
Not only do injured patients get a raw deal, all Americans pay more for care as a result of our tort system. Personal injury lawyers slap up to 1 in 4 physicians with a malpractice lawsuit each year. Doctors are found innocent 90 percent of the time. Fear of such lawsuits, however, causes most doctors to order tests and procedures that aren’t medically necessary. This “defensive medicine” increases our health care costs by $191 billion this year alone.
Lawrence J. McQuillan, San Francisco The writer is director of business and economic studies for the Pacific Research Institute.