Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Republican Plan to Healthcare Reform

Republicans have a plan to fix health care. I know it seems like they are the party of "No," but really they have some ideas. And Dick Morris and Eileen McGann have articulated these ideas in their latest article.
The Republicans need to explain how much of the unnecessary medical costs are being driven by useless tort litigation. In Mississippi, where they acted to preclude much of it, malpractice premiums have declined by 50 percent.
Hmmmm. Malpractice premiums have declined - how much has that affected the patients bills? Presumably were that number as impressive they would have cited it. I generally favor the jury system; but I know that Conservatives have grave doubts about their fellow citizens ability to judge cases fairly.

Frankly I think Andrew Cohen, of the Atlantic, has it right.
Make no mistake-- the "reform" in "tort reform" is about eliminating or reducing the ability of trial juries to act as levelers of the playing field; as avengers of otherwise toothless victims; as the voice of a community in meting out justice. It is about helping corporations before individuals; about the bottom line and not the bottom rung.
Yep. It is baffling to me that republicans think the solution to overly expensive healthcare is to hold doctors less responsible.

But Morris and McGann have other suggestions.
Then Republicans need to discuss other cost-saving measures, such as allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines and other measures to encourage competition.
It will encourage competition exactly as long as it takes for the big insurers to crush the little guys, at which point the competition will end. It does seem like the Republican/Conservative plans are to empower corporations and weaken the power of the people. I'm not sure that will actually improve things that much.


Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Physicians aren't trying to protect negligent doctors. We are trying to protect innocent physicians from becoming defendants, as occurs every day. We also aim to protect patients from defensive medicine, test that they don't need. Wouldn't you support a reformed system that targets true medical negligence and screens out innocent practitioners? See under Legal Quality.

Bryant said...

I suppose it depends on what percentage of malpractice suits you believe are brought against innocent physicians. And what confidence you place in your fellow citizens to judge cases fairly.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Thanks Bryant. Consider 2 statements of fact:
(1) Most physicians who are sued are innocent and ultimately dismissed. I can't give you the 'hard data', but I have 20 yrs experience that supports this. Talk to any physician about this.
(2) Most cases of true medical negligence are missed by the current system.

Any system with such performance would need to be reformed or redone.