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Old 09-10-2012   #21
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BZN, Montana
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Originally Posted by GoodTimes View Post
I find it interesting that litigation related to healthcare is seldom discussed. It can't be ignored that hospitals and private physicians keep incurring massive malpractice insurance premium increases because some "ambulance chaser" just scored a multi-million dollar lawsuit. They had to increase the cost of care to cover their ass. All I'm saying is that its a BIG part of the puzzle that wasn't considered.

I don't know how you put a value on a "mistake" (it is a "practice" after all)....there has to be some type of cap.

So the hospital/physician is footing the bill for the uninsured that walks through the emergency room door and passing it along to everyone else that is insured. Exactly the same thing happens when someone gets awarded $150M
That's the nature of our legal system with regard to liability. As bizarre as it seems, slipping in supermarket isn't an acceptable risk to some people. The court system has agreed and built a series of precedents which protect the lowest common denominator. I don't mean that as an insult either. If we want that to change we need to demand it of our government instead of blaming lawyers.

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Old 09-11-2012   #22
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Originally Posted by glenn View Post
If we want that to change we need to demand it of our government instead of blaming lawyers.
Agreed...I'm not blaming lawyers, the system has created the ambulance chaser. That was kinda my one ever seems to discuss the legal side of healthcare and that massive lawsuits have also played a part in the cost increase. If no one is talking about'll never change.

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Old 09-11-2012   #23
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I've been party to many a health care conversation offline centered around the legal side. Didn't think it was necessarily something glossed over.
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Old 09-11-2012   #24
Join Date: Feb 2005
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There are pretty firm limits on medical malpractice recovery in most states. It varies from state to state, but here's an example of two states that represent many people on this site:

Colorado - Total Damages capped at $1MM with Non Economic Damages (i.e. pain and suffering) capped at $300k - C.R.S. 13-64-302

Idaho - Putative and Non Economic Damages capped at 250k. - Idaho Code 6.1603-4.

This is not to say that lawsuits and med mal insurance don't affect the cost of health care, they do. But be careful when you throw around numbers like $150MM because that just isn't accurate. Our courts/lawmakers decided a long time ago that it is better for everyone to share the added costs associated with the risks of medical surgery. This is a policy decision, and you are free to try to change that. The other problem, at least as far as the Health Care Bill is concerned, is that tort law is defined by the individual states, and Congress doesn't have the power to cap medical malpractice recovery across the board.

In my opinion, the reason healthcare is expensive is because so many people get coverage and then don't pay for it. The health care bill, in its clumsy way, addresses this free rider problem. The bill also purports to help protect people with preexisting conditions - which is a topic very close to me. (It also addresses the adverse selection problem which is another reason health insurance costs are so high.) For those reasons, if it is successful, I think the bill is a net positive.

I do believe there are better alternatives, but you would never get any of those options through this Congress. And, while extremely flawed, this Congress is what we have to work with.
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Old 09-11-2012   #25
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On malpractice, I changed my view when I lived in a European country which didn't have liability damages. I had a 5 year old kid and there were incredible dangers everywhere. With simple, cheap things, you could eliminate the dangers.

1) A public pool didn't have clearly separated shallow and deep end. My 5 year old kid jumped in the pool and didn't realize he was in the deep end. He didn't know how to swim. I was tracking him, saw it, and scooped him out.
2) Same pool had slick tile on the steps to the slide. Always wet. People were constantly falling on the hard tile. How about a little friction paint?
3) Because they didn't take 20 seconds to tie up the ferry during a 60 second stop, there was a 6 inch gap you had to jump to get on the ferry. It was raining. Hold on to your kid.

There were constant similar examples of safety carelessness. Yes, I'm responsible for myself and my family, but do the basic, easy stuff. Only way I can think of enforcing it is with liability lawsuits. More regulation won't work.

How do you keep doctors honest? How about hitting bad doctors in their pocketbook with higher insurance premiums? It's using market principals. If doctors can make $1 million mistakes, hold them accountable. I agree about a cap on pain and suffering, which already exists.

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