2:13 PM EST
John Ensign, R-NV

Mr. ENSIGN. No question, those are the two most important types of reforms for medical liability laws that have been placed in the States--my State of Nevada, Texas, California and other States. The caps are what have shown a reduction in the medical liability premiums for doctors. They are what have shown a reduction in the cost of our health care system.

Mr. President, let me quote because the other side is talking about these contingency fees; that they need these contingency fees to take on these lawsuits, especially for those who are very poor. They say it is the only way for this to happen.

I quote:

Since 1960, the effective hourly rates of tort lawyers--

These are the personal injury attorneys--

have increased 1,000 percent to 1,400 percent (in inflation-adjusted dollars).

While the overall risk of nonrecovery has remained essentially constant though it has decreased materially for such high end tort categories as products liability and medical malpractice.

The lawyers, basically, have created all these laws that make it easier for them to sue and their contingency rates have gone up 1,000 to 1,400 percent since 1960, and yet there is no more increased risk and even reduced risk of nonrecovery in medical malpractice cases. It is easier to sue nowadays. This comes down to, are you on the patients' side or the trial lawyers' side? Which side are you on? We are on the side of the patients; the other side seems to be on the side of the trial bar.