The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 16, 2003

Fact Sheet: President Calls for Medical Liability Reform

Today's Presidential Action

A Framework for Addressing the Medical Liability Crisis

President Bush has proposed a framework for addressing the medical liability crisis.

Background on Today's Presidential Action

Americans spend more per person on the costs of litigation than any other country in the world. Unlimited and unpredictable liability awards raise the costs of health care for all Americans through higher premiums for health insurance.

Over the last few years, doctors, nurses, and hospitals have faced skyrocketing medical liability insurance premiums because of our broken litigation system. Health care providers in states without reasonable limits on non-economic damages have experienced the largest increases, between 36% and 113% in 2002 alone. These greatly increased costs are threatening access to health care. And, the environment has caused doctors who fear getting sued to practice "defensive medicine," prescribing costly medical treatments for the sole purpose of avoiding litigation, raising costs and putting patients at risk.

Many communities across the country are losing access to medical care as doctors leave their practices and move to states that have enacted medical liability reforms and caps on non-economic damages.

These costs, due to a broken litigation system, are also borne by the taxpayer, as the Federal government also pays for health care delivered directly to members of the armed forces, veterans, and patients served by the Indian Health Service. These costs are also borne by the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

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