The Intermittent Kevin

As rarely and randomly updated as most blogs

Health care: A bit about malpractice reform

with 2 comments

I commented earlier about how tort reform for doctors seems like a good idea. This NYT editorial is informative on the topic:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/opinion/17wed2.html

With regards to overall health-care spending, it looks like frivolous lawsuits (obnoxious as they are) don’t contribute much to the big problem we’re facing. “[The CBO] estimates that caps on damages would ultimately reduce malpractice premiums for medical providers but would have a ‘relatively small’ impact on total health spending, reducing it by less than half a percent.” So, Republicans who gripe about frivolous lawsuits with regards to the big honkin’ health-care money problem aren’t really swinging at the right piñata.

I Googled for "doctor piñata."

I Googled for doctor piñata.

But there IS a piñata worth swinging at here. Malpractice insurance costs—not to mention the threat of malpractice lawsuits itself—seem to be a thorn in the side of a LOT of doctors, who are overwhelmingly in favor of reform. There’s definitely a cost, though not directly monetary, if talented doctors are dissuaded from practicing, or sued out of their practice, by a lawsuit-happy society. My own state of Texas, which I usually assume will do the wrong thing politically, is considering a cap on the “pain and suffering” damages that a lawsuit award; at first glance that seems like a fair-enough way to limit arbitrary medical awards.

There might be other ways to help the problem too, so I’m glad Obama’s looking into it. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I witnessed a medmal lawsuit first-hand as a jury foreman, and all of us bemoaned the fact that the doctor—one of the most important and respectable professions—is also the one profession where you can make a simple screwup and have it cost you millions of dollars and your ability to do your job.

That’s definitely an appropriate step for some quacks. But there are hundreds of thousands of smart and capable docs who deserve better than to have that looming over their shoulder all the time.

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Written by Kevin Miller

September 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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2 Responses

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  1. I don’t know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

    JimmyBean

    October 1, 2009 at 4:33 am

  2. I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read….

    BloggerDude

    October 8, 2009 at 9:47 pm


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