New Jersey goes far afield to protect the public!

New Jersey lawyers are taxed in order to fund a doctors’ malpractice insurance fund. Wow! Talk about protecting the public!  So why are we arguing about disclosure provisions and a false facade or merely apparent protection of the public in California?

Why aren’t we suggesting true protection of the public by putting some muscle behind the effort … money! Why don’t we create a State Bar insurance fund as they did in Oregon and provide real backing to the idea of public protection from miscreant lawyers?

Lawyers are taxed $75 for a fund to subsidize doctor’s malpractice insurance. While that may be absurd, that is the law.  This is to fund the Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Premium Assistance Fund.  Here’s a link talking about it, listing the various groups taxed for it:

Doctors are taxed, as are employers, and note this line:    " An annual fee of $75 to be assessed by the State Treasurer and payable by each person licensed to practice law in this State, for deposit into the Fund."

The money is for the purpose of subsidizing doctors’ med-mal premiums.  (The New Jersey State Bar Association sued to enjoin collection of this tax, but the court refused to grant it.)

According to David M. Nieporent
Attorney at Law

Note:  But, in their effort to protect the public, they have hit the true issue:  Money.  Money to create an insurance fund that can be used in cases of miscreant doctors. Who should bear the brunt of the loss? Doctors, obviously. But, the damages from bad doctors are so high that society in general is required to pitch in.  By doing so, perhaps the public will get upset enough to require stricter licensing and re-certification provisions to make sure that fewer bad doctors practice and the severity of damages from these folks are reduced.   ….

That sounds strangely like a political discussion I remember in California about lawyers a number of years ago … and the proposals for more oversight got squelched.  Is it possible that this current discussion is the back door to that earlier discussion … and more is to come?   Stay tuned, as they say in radio-land.


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