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Letter to Editor: Feb. 9, 2021: Eliminating med caps helps protect patients

Letter to Editor: Feb. 9, 2021: Eliminating med caps helps protect patients

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Eliminating med caps

helps protect patients

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Call or write to your state lawmakers and ask them to pass Senate Bill 1107 to eliminate the cap on medical malpractice. Virginia ranks 38th out of 50 states in health care quality. Virginians are the fourth highest spenders in American health care, yet they nationally have the fourth lowest medical malpractice cap.

To health care conglomerates claiming that removing the medical malpractice cap in Virginia would lead to higher health care costs — if we already are spending on health care at the fourth highest rate in the nation — there’s not much room for costs to increase. If doctors knew they'd be held responsible for the damages they caused patients, they would be less likely to commit harmful or negligent acts.

Because of the medical malpractice cap in Virginia, most personal injury attorneys will not accept these legal cases; the investment is too great and the payout too small. Citizens cannot represent themselves in court for these cases, and since attorneys are reluctant to accept them, some health care providers feel certain they can harm patients without any repercussions. There almost is no recourse for patients injured by health care professionals.

What’s worse is that the medical malpractice cap actually incentivizes the health care professionals to commit malpractice, because they charge patients for the first procedure that harms them, and then charge those same patients for the subsequent procedures to repair the damage they caused. In 21 states and Washington, D.C., there is no medical malpractice cap; most of those states have deemed medical malpractice caps to be unconstitutional. Why should Virginians be subjected to something that other states have decried as “unconstitutional?” If you believe in the Constitution, and you want safe health care for all Virginians, then tell your lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 1107.

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