March 16, 2011
Dear Mr. Fisher,
Thank you for expressing your opposition to the Medicaid Redesign Team's
(MRT) Proposal 131 which recommends a cap on non-economic damages to victims of medical malpractice.
The MRT recommendations are far-reaching and have generated a great deal of controversy. However, few have been as controversial as this particular recommendation. As you are probably aware, a complaint has been filed with the Commission on Public Integrity stating that several members of the Medicaid Redesign Team have conflicts of interest.
You made a valid point about the MRT over-reaching in its attempt to re-shape the justice system as part of resolving budget issues. The purpose of a lawsuit is to make a victim whole. In essence, the MRT proposal arbitrarily defines "whole" as victims of malpractice.
As the budget process proceeds, I will keep your thoughts and concerns in mind.
Steven F. McLaughlin
Member of Assembly
> John Fisher
> 991 Deans Mill Road
> Ravena, NY 12143-3307
> March 1, 2011
> The Honorable Steve McLaughlin
> New York Assembly
> Legislative Office Building, Room 529
> Albany, NY 12248
> Dear Assemblymember McLaughlin:
> I strongly OPPOSE the proposals currently included in the Executive
> Budget that would cap awards on non-economic damages to victims of
> medical malpractice and create a Neurologically Impaired Infant Fund.
> The purpose of the civil justice system is to compensate victims
> harmed by the negligence of others. A cap would adversely affect
> individuals with legitimate claims who have suffered the most serious physical injuries.
> Further, considering only economic loss would discriminate against
> persons with little or no earnings such as children, the elderly and homemakers.
> A Neurologically Impaired Infant Fund would force the most helpless
> victims into a Medicaid style system with their options for treatment
> rationed by bureaucrats in a system under which they have no control.
> When a family suffers devastating loss due to medical negligence, at
> the very least they should be permitted to make their own treatment decisions.
> They should not be victimized twice.
> Additionally, there is the matter of accountability. Negligent
> doctors should be held responsible for the injuries they cause. If a
> doctor is operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol should
> they be entitled to greater protection under the law than a drunk
> driver? Tax payers shouldn't be forced to foot the bill for a negligent doctor's harm.
> Proposals to modify New York's civil justice system should not be
> driven by the special interests of hospitals and other healthcare
> entities. The Medicaid Redesign Team failed to include consumer groups
> or patient advocates. The MRT's rushed process was unfair to medical
> malpractice victims, consumers and taxpayers, none of whom had a seat at the table.
> I respectfully request that you OPPOSE BUDGET LEGISLATION that would
> implement the MRT's Proposal Number 131 in relation to capping
> non-economic damages in medical malpractice actions and create a
> Neurologically Impaired Infant Fund.
> John H. Fisher