New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Calls for the Creation of Health Courts

Jan 27, 2011, 12:14 ET from Common Good

NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a keynote speech yesterday at the New York State Bar Association, calling for legal reform including the creation of special health courts. Philip K. Howard, Chair of Common Good, the nonpartisan legal reform coalition that has developed and championed the concept of special health courts, today issued the following statement:

"Mayor Bloomberg asked a crucial question for New York and the nation: How can we use our legal system to promote a culture of innovation rather than a culture of fear? He went on to demonstrate that the current culture of legal fear is undermining the health care on which Americans depend, and he proposed, as part of the solution, the creation of health courts. Mayor Bloomberg deserves great praise for drawing attention to this important issue and for advocating health courts. In doing so, he adds a significant independent voice to the growing chorus of leaders who are urging the creation of health courts to help reduce the spiraling cost of health care in America."

President Barack Obama's bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (the U.S. deficit commission) recently endorsed the creation of health courts, as have three other bipartisan commissions: the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (at the New America Foundation); the Debt Reduction Task Force of the Bipartisan Policy Center; and Esquire magazine's Commission to Balance the Federal Budget. On March 2, 2010, President Obama endorsed health courts, in a letter to Congressional leaders. Among much editorial support, David Brooks endorsed health courts in his New York Times column on October 29th.

The concept of health courts originated with, and has long been championed by, Common Good, working in conjunction with experts at the Harvard School of Public Health and with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Health courts would have judges dedicated full-time to resolving health care disputes. The judges would make written rulings to provide guidance on proper standards of care. These rulings would set precedents on which both patients and doctors could rely. As with similar administrative courts that exist in other areas of law – for tax disputes, workers' compensation, and vaccine liability, among others – there would be no juries. To assure predictability and fairness, each ruling could be appealed to a new Medical Appellate Court.

The full text of Mayor Bloomberg's speech is available at:

Common Good ( is a nonpartisan legal reform coalition dedicated to restoring common sense to America. The Chair of Common Good is Philip K. Howard, a lawyer and author of Life Without Lawyers and The Death of Common Sense.

SOURCE Common Good