Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Barbara Holzer, Broadcast Manager
w. (202) 588-7716

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Symone Sanders, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch division
w. (202) 454-5108

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog

Follow us on Twitter


Feb. 24, 2010

Public Citizen Implores Congress to Stand Up to Liability Insurers During Health Care Summit

Focus Should Shift to Preventing Malpractice, Protecting Patients 

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – As lawmakers join President Barack Obama’s health care summit and try to develop legislation they can agree on, Public Citizen urges them not to shield negligent doctors and hospitals from accountability because it puts patients at risk and wastes taxpayer dollars, Public Citizen wrote in a letter sent today to congressional leadership.

 Limits on medical malpractice liability have no place in legislation that seeks to improve access to quality care and decrease costs. So-called tort “reform” laws increase the risk of medical negligence and shift the costs away from those who should pay — doctors and hospitals that have committed malpractice — to taxpayers, Public Citizen said.

 “Although many states have enacted some form of tort reform, their health care costs have still skyrocketed,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “Litigation is not the problem. Researchers estimate that there are nearly 10 times as many injuries caused by medical negligence as malpractice suits filed. The problem is a crisis in patient safety. If Congress wants to save money, not to mention lives, it should focus on improving the care patients get in the first place.”

The Institute of Medicine estimated 10 years ago that nearly 98,000 Americans die a year from medical errors in hospitals, which cost between $17 billion to $29 billion annually. A 2009 investigation by Hearst newspapers concluded that approximately 200,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors and health care-associated infections. And a Public Citizen investigation found that fixing a mere 10 types of medical errors, such as by shortening shifts and increasing supervision of medical residents, would save, conservatively, 85,000 lives and $35 billion per year.

“Modest improvements in patient safety would save far more money than draconian limits on medical liability, and they would save tens of thousands of lives, too,” Arkush said.

Public Citizen urges Congress to stand up for patients and American taxpayers, not malpractice liability insurers.

To read the letter sent to Congress, visit: http://www.citizen.org/documents/PC_summit_letter.pdf.

To learn more about medical malpractice, visit: http://www.citizen.org/documents/Medical_Malpractice_Fact_Sheet.pdf.


Copyright © 2015 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.


To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.