A: The New York Post reported today that the State Assembly Majority announced yesterday that it's considering a dramatic increase in state personal-income taxes that will come down hardest on New York City residents and the key industries that are the engine for economic growth across the state. As an alternative there have been suggestions that reforms to the medical-malpractice law could save hundreds of millions in health-care expenditures.
It has also been reported that the Governor's medical malpractice task force, spearheaded by Eric Dinallo, Superintendant of Insurance, will recommend that victims of medical malpractice be prevented from obtaining compensation for their future medical expenses. The suggestion has been floated that a "global compensation fund" be set up funneling victims into a Medicaid-like, or a workers-compensation like fund to pay for a victims' ongoing medical care.
Such a suggestion is outrageous for the victims of medical neglect. Putting aside the drawbacks that already exist in medicaid-like programs and worker's compensation programs, an injured victim will be forced to accept medical care from only those physicians and hospitals that participate in the government program. What this really means is that the State will look to pay the least to these doctors, while requiring all victims get their treatment from these doctors.
Query: Why should the State have the ability to dictate where an injured victim gets the best medical care possible? Shouldn't an injured victim, harmed through no fault of his own, have the ability to get the best possible medical care, regardless of the cost?
Who is the government to say that a crippled human being, disabled for life, because of a physician's neglect can only get treated by Dr. "X" in Brooklyn. What if that patient wants to go to the best surgeon in the country, and that doctor is located in Manhattan? Shouldn't the patient decide what treatment is best for him? Aren't we, as free people, entitled to the right to decide how and where we receive medical treatment? Remember, compensation is a debt that must be repaid by the wrongdoer. If the wrongoing physician is no longer required to pay for future medical expenses, hasn't the State given a "Freebie" or a "Pass" to the doctor for the harm that he caused? He no longer has to worry about paying anything for any future medical care his victim has suffered. That amazing. What's next? The legislature deciding that doctor's have immunity from paying any compensation for the harm they cause?
This isn't like a health insurance company who says that you can only go to our "in-network" doctors. This is the government saying, "We've set up this program, and if you need ongoing medical care, you must use our program and our affiliated doctors." Is this fair to the injured victim?
By the way...who do you think is going to have to pay for this huge global medical fund to pay for all these injured victims who need ongoing medical treatment? You. Me. Your neighbors. The residents of the State of New York- our taxes will rise. But what about the medical malpractice insurance company executives who are claiming that their companies don't have enough money to pay verdicts and settlements against their insured doctors? Is their compensation diminishing? Let's instead put the burden of paying ongoing medical care where it belongs...with the wrongdoer. And who insures the wrongdoer? The doctors' medical malpractice insurance company.
So what's the problem?
The problem is really a 'red herring' because it shifts the real financial issue away from the insurance companies and back to the injured victims who are left to flounder and struggle for themselves.
The attempt to reform a requirement for a wrongdoer to compensate his victim and make the State pay for it is simply unfair and should not be tolerated as a society.