Monday, June 15, 2009

Follow the money.

Most thinking people admit medical malpractice suits are out of control and are contributing to the rising cost of healthcare.

Malpractice insurance is so expensive many doctors have retired, left high-risk specialties like OB-GYN, or even turned their backs on their chosen profession altogether.

So, as long as Barack-star is talking about reforming healthcare...why isn't he considering putting a cap on malpractice awards?

Medical malpractice lawsuits are civil cases seeking two types of damages: economic damages for lost wages and medical bills, and non-economic damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress. Efforts to reform the malpractice system place an emphasis on limiting non-economic damages(typically the most costly and the least objectively measured).

Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, one of the strongest lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. is on behalf of malpractice attorneys. Face it, malpractice lawsuits have made millions for malpractice attorneys (remember zillionaire baby-daddy John Edwards?).

The reality is that once again, all you have to do is follow the money. Limit non-economic damages for pain and suffering...and malpractice attorneys don't make as much money.

So here we are with the government willing to turn our healthcare system into another government-run entity...but not willing to take on the lobbyists who are at least partially responsible for driving up healthcare costs in the first place.

From WashingtonPolicy.org:

"Nationally, about one out of every six practicing doctors face a malpractice claim every year. In some high-risk fields, like orthopedics, obstetrics, and trauma surgery, every doctor faces, on average, one claim every two and a half years. The cost of defending against these lawsuits averages more than $20,000 per defendant. Fully 70 percent of all malpractice claims are thrown out before ever reaching the courtroom. For those that do go to court, a trial that results in the doctor’s vindication costs an average of $85,000."

2 comments:

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