Health Care Costs Cause Baseball Doctors to Balk

April 11, 2003 ( - Excessive medical liability costs have stolen home plate by limiting the ability of Canadian baseball teams to retain a team doctor.

Tuesday night’s game between the Boston Red Sox and the Canadian-based Toronto Blue Jays had a scratch in its starting lineup: Toronto’s team doctor. The absence was a direct result of three team doctors resigning because the Canadian Medical Protection Association (CMPA), an umbrella group that set up a fund to protect against medical liability suits, dropped coverage for any doctors dealing with United States-based professional sports associations.

“The threat of medical liability suits in the United States has gotten so out of control that our athletes — and the very foundation of our national pastime — are being threatened by this crisis,” said John Thomas, chairman of the Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Health Care (CARH) in a statement.

CARH pointed to the escalation as a direct result of frivolous legal action by personal injury lawyers. This action has driven up medical liability costs to the point where doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care professionals are being forced to limit the services they provide or close altogether, the group said.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. Today it’s major league baseball, tomorrow it’s little league baseball-and then all Americans, ” Thomas said.