Special Interest Measure Will Endanger Patients, Increase Taxes
Amendment 3 will endanger the health of Floridians and increase costs to taxpayers, a national consumer organization concluded in a policy analysis of the proposal on the Florida ballot in November. Download FTCR's analysis.
The California-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a leading citizen research and advocacy group on insurance and tort issues, concluded that Amendment 3 would:
' "Encourage reckless and dangerous conduct by health care providers, particularly HMOs and incompetent or irresponsible medical staff, thus having a devastating effect on the safety of Florida patients."
' "Dramatically interfere with the right of Floridians to hire a lawyer to protect them in a dispute with a doctor, hospital or other health care provider, to the point where only the wealthy will be able to hire an attorney."
' "Not lower the price of medical malpractice insurance premiums."
' "Result in increased taxes for Floridians as they are forced to absorb the medical and other uncompensated expenses of victims of medical malpractice."
The analysis also noted that a possible drafting error could require that Amendment 3 be applied to all lawsuits in which the injured person requests compensation for medical bills, not solely to medical malpractice lawsuits, as has been advertised.
Amendment 3 is sponsored by the leadership of the Florida medical lobby, which, like its counterparts in many other states, has sought to restrict the rights of patients harmed by medical malpractice to seek compensation from health care providers.
Harvey Rosenfield, founder of the organization and author of a voter-approved ballot measure that lowered malpractice premiums in California by regulating insurance company rates and profits, stated: "We conclude that Amendment 3 will lead directly to the death and injury of Floridians at the hands of HMOs and incompetent medical staff. It will lower health care quality, raise costs to taxpayers and do nothing to lower insurance premiums for the state's doctors."
Noting that a recent study by Health Grades Inc. found that medical malpractice contributed to the deaths of almost 200,000 Americans a year in hospitals alone, Rosenfield concluded that "Amendment 3 is a prescription for disaster for Floridians."