[PLUG-TALK] Malpractice (was Prescription Drugs)

Russell Senior seniorr at aracnet.com
Mon Sep 6 11:04:22 PDT 2004

>>>>> "AthlonRob" == AthlonRob  <AthlonRob at axpr.net> writes:

AthlonRob> I think you overestimate people.  Regardless, however, a
AthlonRob> compensation *is* a reward.

Not if it is still a net loss.

Keith> Yes, malpractice is a small part of total health care spending.
Keith> So is doctor compensation; perhaps 5% to 10%.

Russell> Okay, then don't blame lawyers for driving up health care costs.

AthlonRob> Certainly not all of it; but a significant part seems to be
AthlonRob> driven by lawyers, doesn't it?  

Is 2% of total health care spending significant?  Even if it *doubled*
every year, that would only account for 2% of your premiums increase.
When was the last time your health insurance only went up by 2%.  If
you've got figures that shows it is significant, reel them out,
because what we've got on the table so far shows that: a) malpractice
claims are *not* growing, but declining over the last 10 years; and b)
even if they were growing, they couldn't come close to explaining
overall growth.  And yet *all* you hear from the Republicans on
controlling health costs is "tort reform".

Russell> Maybe all the direct responsibility gets concentrated on the
Russell> physicians, but the normal thing to do in these cases is
Russell> treat it as a cost of doing business and build it into your
Russell> rates.  If the physician isn't being compensated adequately
Russell> to cover their costs then they should charge more.

AthlonRob> And they often do, directly leading to the rising cost of
AthlonRob> healthcare.  That's the problem, isn't it?  

The data suggest that malpractice awards aren't growing.  Therefore,
that can't explain 20% a year increases in insurance premiums.

Russell> Or if the malpractice insurance rates are unreasonable, then
Russell> get together with colleagues and form your own risk pool. [...]

AthlonRob> I think that's easier said than done.  Let's say you get 10
AthlonRob> doctors together and one gets hit with a $1M lawsuit.
AthlonRob> That's $100K per doctor.  I don't think Keith or his wife
AthlonRob> could afford to shell out $100K.

What is stopping them from creating larger risk pools?  If the claims
being paid are truly random ("everyone makes mistakes"), then everyone
is equally vulnerable.  A common risk pool, in that case, makes sense.

Maybe they should kick in some more money to help educate people about
risks of child birth, maybe they should actually decide to provide the
efficacious prenatal care *free* if it actually saves lives, since
otherwise some unlucky OB might get stuck with a bad outcome later.
Etc, etc.  Litigation is just Free People pursuing compensation for
injuries in a society that makes that necessary.

Russell> Blame the people doing the screwing.  Blame the people that
Russell> constructed the system by which the only compensation for
Russell> medical errors is through malpractice claims.  If you think
Russell> it is the fault of dumb juries, support education of critical
Russell> thinking skills so jury pools aren't filled with dumb people.
Russell> If you think it is the fault of juries filled with poor
Russell> people who sympathize with the poor patient, support policies
Russell> that eliminate poorness.  Don't "mask the symptom" by
Russell> legislatively waving your hand and pretending medical errors
Russell> and their consequences don't exist anymore.

AthlonRob> I think forcing all of America to take courses on critical
AthlonRob> thinking to make everybody seem smarter is perhaps a bit of
AthlonRob> a crazy solution.  

We "force" them to get an education _now_.  It is called K12.  Maybe
you've heard of it.  Uneducated voters are bad voters, who will make
bad decisions, which is bad for everyone in society.  So, if it is
crazy to want fewer people to be uneducated adults, then you might as
well pack in the idea of "freedom" while you are at it, because it
can't survive under those conditions.

AthlonRob> To ensure everybody has enough money to not be considered
AthlonRob> poor would probably require communism.

I don't think so.

Russell> Medical malpractice may very well be a significant and
Russell> important issue to physicians, but as a health care cost it
Russell> is a red-herring, waved around by the Republicans to distract
Russell> voters and to enable continued looting.

AthlonRob> Oh, sure, it's a great Republican conspiracy to steal bread
AthlonRob> out of the mouthes of children.  Damn, somebody let the
AthlonRob> secret out!!  Yeah, we're trying our best to ensure as many
AthlonRob> people (especially non-Republicans and children) as
AthlonRob> possible go without healthcare at all, all in the great
AthlonRob> ploy to ensure we're all (us Republicans) rich.

Can you point out a single Republican proposal or idea on controlling
health care costs that is _not_ tort reform?  Current data (see above)
shows that *CANNOT* be the problem.

AthlonRob> Kerry's socialism policy seems, to me, like it would fuck
AthlonRob> up the nation's healthcare system about as much as
AthlonRob> possible.  

Go ahead and admit it.  You don't have the first clue what Kerry's
plan on health care is, do you?

Russell Senior         ``I have nine fingers; you have ten.''
seniorr at aracnet.com

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