Md. doesn't need tort reform

December 22, 2009

This week the Baltimore Business Journal published a list entitled "Highest Paying Occupations in Maryland," ranking Maryland employees by average annual salary in 2008 based upon data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Interestingly, nine of the top 10 positions are held by health care providers: (1) anesthesiologist; (2) obstetrician; (3) orthodontist; (4) oral and maxillofacial surgeon; (5) internist, general; (7) family and general practitioner; (8) dentist, general; (9) podiatrist; and (10) physician and surgeon, other. The only non-health-care-provider occupation among the top 10 is chief executive officer at No. 6.

During the current debate regarding government intervention in the health care insurance industry, Maryland health care providers have repeatedly cried for more tort reform to protect them from the cost of malpractice insurance. But those who earn more than virtually any other professionals in the state certainly do not deserve any further economic protection. In fact, the Journal's list makes it clear that existing Maryland medical malpractice reform - such as caps on damages - went too far and resulted in nothing more than lining the pockets of health care providers at the expense of victims of serious medical mistakes. Imagine what the public would say if the lawyers, who rank No. 13 on the list, now sought help from the legislature to increase their incomes.Andrew G. Slutkin, Baltimore

The writer is a partner in the law firm Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White.

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