Take the terrible proposal that’s been circulating in Georgia and Florida, which is the brainchild of a Richard L. Jackson, the Chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. He is proposing to repeal the right to jury trial for all patients injured by medical malpractice in these states, replacing juries with a new government agency consisting of political appointees and government bureaucrats pulled directly from the medical and business establishments. These government officials would be given power to write and approve “compensation schedules” - so much for an eye, so much for a leg, so much for a dead child - irrespective of any patient's actual needs. How nice for Mr. Jackson.
Mind you, this idea comes just two years after the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a simple cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional, saying "the determination of damages rests 'peculiarly within the province of the jury.'" So along comes this idea, which would wipe our juries and cap everything.
And besides, who believes a government takeover of the medical malpractice system is a good idea?
Who believes that instituting a state-imposed rigid, dictatorial system of compensation schedules and liability standards for doctors, replacing what is now a free-market approach to holding health care providers accountable, is a good idea?
Who believes that it makes sense in this fiscal climate to create an entirely new governmental agency to handle what are a relatively small percentage of medical malpractice cases in our court system?
Who believes that a system in which catastrophically-harmed children likely will be compensated at well below their actual losses, forcing families onto taxpayer-funded Medicaid, is a good idea?
See what I mean? Conservatives should be disturbed by this idea as much as progressives. Unless you happen to be an industry CEO, I suppose.
For more on this, check out the Center for Justice & Democracy’s new study: Georgia’s Patient Compensation System – A New State Agency That Will Harm Patients.