Allegations that malpractice lawsuits unjustifiably increase health care costs is one item pushed by insurance industry advocates, who wave the banner of "tort reform." "Tort reform" should be understood as a synonym for releasing corporations and insurance companies from accountability, responsibility and liability. Dr. Rahul K. Parikh in an interesting essay on salon.com, "I'm a doctor. So sue me. No, really," reports among other things as follows:
- Instead of a swamp of frivolous lawsuits, what the data shows is a system that functions. Insubstantial claims tend to collapse, while the medical industry usually opts to pay off injured patients instead of going to trial. The doctors and the insurers choose to fight to win when they think they can, and when there is enough money at stake, and usually do win.
- There are two more arguments tort reformers use to make their case for change: The first is that defensive medicine drives up the cost of care. The second is that skyrocketing malpractice premiums are driving doctors out of business, cutting patients' access to care. In both cases, however, the facts don't substantiate those claims.