Reform Torts to Bring Malpractice Insurance Down

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by GHook93, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. GHook93
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    GHook93 Aristotle

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    A huge part of the reason healthcare is so expensive is because of the high cost of law suits in America. You can thank lawyers like John Edwards for that.

    Here is my solution:
    (1) Cap all negligence lawsuits at $250K
    (2) For more damages than the cap you must get punitive (which are very hard to get). But only for gross negligence and intentional torts
    (3) Allow for defense attorney fees for frivilous lawsuits
    (4) Allow for very swift and strict sanctions for frivilous lawsuits.
     
  2. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    Every single thing I have read on this counters that argument. Tort is a meaningless diversion from the real issues of healthcare cost.

    The Medical Malpractice Myth by Tom Baker, an excerpt

    'What do we know?"

    "First, we know from the California study, as confirmed by more recent, better publicized studies, that the real problem is too much medical malpractice, not too much litigation. Most people do not sue, which means that victims—not doctors, hospitals, or liability insurance companies—bear the lion’s share of the costs of medical malpractice.

    Second, because of those same studies, we know that the real costs of medical malpractice have little to do with litigation. The real costs of medical malpractice are the lost lives, extra medical expenses, time out of work, and pain and suffering of tens of thousands of people every year, the vast majority of whom do not sue. There is lots of talk about the heavy burden that “defensive medicine” imposes on health costs, but the research shows this is not true.

    Third, we know that medical malpractice insurance premiums are cyclical, and that it is not frivolous litigation or runaway juries that drive that cycle. The sharp spikes in malpractice premiums in the 1970s, the 1980s, and the early 2000s are the result of financial trends and competitive behavior in the insurance industry, not sudden changes in the litigation environment...."

    continued
     
  3. toomuchtime_
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    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

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    While I agree that tort reform with respect to medical malpractice is essential, I think your plan goes too far in some areas and not far enough in others.

    If some one becomes an invalid because of medical negligence, the resulting expenses over a lifetime could come to much more than $250,000, and I believe they should be fully compensated for these expenses. On the other hand, I would impose caps on awards for emotional distress and get rid of punitive damages in favor of suspending or revoking medical licenses for negligent or careless doctors. Losing your license to practice medicine is a much harsher penalty than having to pay higher malpractice insurance rates, and it punishes only the negligent doctors and not those who are innocent.

    While high malpractice insurance rates do increase the cost of health care and health insurance, defensive medicine causes even more harm. In recent survey in Massachusetts, doctors reported that between 18% and 28% of the "tests, procedures, referrals and consultations and 13 percent of hospitalizations were ordered for defensive reasons" at a combined cost of $1.4 billion a year. If we were to extrapolate these results - only eight specialties and seven tests and procedures were surveyed - over all the doctors and tests, procedures, referrals, etc. in the entire country for defensive reasons, the total cost would come to at least $100 billion a year and perhaps, according to one estimate, $200 billion a year. If we did nothing else to improve our health care system but institute tort reform that led doctors to reduce their practice of defensive medicine, we could significantly cut health care costs across all private and public plans and make access to health insurance affordable to some who now can't afford it.

    MASSMED | MMS Survey Examines Defensive Medicine
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  4. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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  5. GHook93
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    GHook93 Aristotle

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  6. veritas
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    veritas OBKB

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    $250k wouldn't even make a dent, especially after lawyers have stepped on it. There should be a cap on attorneys fees. The insurance companies can fight all day because they have lawyers on the payroll. They'd rather pay their lawyers than pay claims. And they have both sides of the transaction, your health insurance AND the malpractice insurance.

    John Edwards was a private lawyer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  7. Epsilon Delta
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    Epsilon Delta Jedi Master

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    What about cheaper medical education? Besides tort costs, another thing I've heard is that it's just too pricey to become a doctor. In other developed countries doctors may not make as much, but since university is usually free then doctors also don't have to pay gigantic loans. Just putting it out there; maybe it's something to look into.
     
  8. toomuchtime_
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    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

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    If you agree to serve for a time in one of the military services, you can get a free medical school education and if you sign up to serve in the National Health Service for a few years, likewise, they will pay for your medical education. In effect, you pay them back by working for less than you might make in private practice.
     
  9. Maple
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    Maple Senior Member

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    the top of the reform list. Unfortunately, Obama is against reform, he is a lawyer and the trail lawyer's lobby has bought off the democratic party.

    This action alone would same billions of dollars a year in health care costs. Obama is against this which tells me clearly that this is not about reforming the health care industry it's about total control over us and our loss of freedom of choice. He is a SOCIALIST.
     
  10. Maple
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    Maple Senior Member

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    The AMA booed President Obama when he stated that he was against Tort reform.

    Doctors will run every test known to man and sometimes twice on the same patient to make sure of a correct diagnosis and treatment because of their fear of lawsuits. The mal-practice insurance for some of these physicians runs well over $100.000 per year, they pass that cost back on to the consumer, you, in the form of higher fees for service. That's an easily found fact.
     

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