The Montana Legislature is hearing a package of medical malpractice tort reform bills. This package will reduce the cost of medical care to all Montanans. Montana patients already have difficulty accessing quality medical care and they are paying more for medical care they do receive.

Although there are many differences of opinion regarding health-care reform, there is consensus that system-wide tort reform will reduce significant costs without depriving patients of the care they need. Providers across the political spectrum urge these reforms. In the more cost-effective European health-care systems, strict restrictions on medical malpractice liability is a primary difference between their lower-cost systems and our system of high-cost health care. Unfortunately, the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act did not address tort reform.

These bills will reduce health-care costs paid by patients in a variety of ways, but the key results of tort reform will be that it will help bring more qualified doctors to Montana and will reduce defensive medicine costs to patients.

It is imperative that the tort reform efforts in front of the Montana Legislature become law to increase access to care and reduce system-wide health-care costs.

Shaun J. Gillis, M.D. and Timothy J. McInnis, M.D.