Saturday, August 22, 2009

Malpractice Lawsuit Reform

Health Care Reform is in the air like high oil prices were last summer. Everyone is talking and everyone has an opinion. Once again, I am against a public option right now because we're in the middle of the 2nd great depression. We also will be running 9 trillion in deficits over the next ten years, before this public option plan. There is a path I support effective right now:

1. Limit medical malpractice lawsuits
2. Hire enough people in Medicaid to enroll all of the people who are eligible.

Step 1 would limit costs of malpractice lawsuits, insurance, time & energy wasted reducing costs for everyone in the medical and legal fields. Step 2 would get those who are eligible for medicaid on the rolls. That 45 mil uninsured number is hogwash especially given the inclusion of illegal aliens. That number seems to change by whomever is reporting it. These are changes that would directly impact costs and access for more people.

No one seems to bring up tort reform. The Prez never mentions it because it hurts the lawyer voting block. Bush & Co tried this years ago, and it failed. One politician, who I respect but would not want to see as President, has at least mentioned the idea. I give this some credibility because after all, she mentioned the idea of government deciding who lives and dies and magically the provisions stating that were taken out of the Senate versions of the health care reform bill. I like having her around, but I don't want her behind the wheel.

Back to the issue... this is critical and important if we ever want to curb costs, as this is part of the system in the UK, Canada & elsewhere. Should a family hit the lottery because of a mistake evaluated by a very loose jury-judge compared to a less sympathetic jury-judge? Can you put a price tag on a human life? Think about it, this can cut costs maybe 5-10% and it doesn't affect quality of care or amount of care. It's a no brainer. I can imagine ambulance chasing attorneys would be upset, but is this a negative social effect on society? Isn't there a gain by reducing costs on everyone through lower malpractice premiums than for one family to receive a few million less for a mistake?

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