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"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink



Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!



Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Don't Need a Reason 

Many in the medical profession, particularly on the more political side, are fond of claiming that the high price of care in the US today is due to the enormous cost of malpractice insurance, which is as high as it is due to that pesky right we have in this country, of suing doctors for screwing up, and getting big payments for it.

While I'll be the first to agree that many of the high-profile malpractice suits are probably frivolous, and the damages awarded are fairly excessive, I know full well that what's represented in the media is barely (if at all) realistic, and certainly not the norm. A new study in the journal Health Affairs indicates that malpractice awards are rising in line with care costs, not soaring above them as some would have us believe, and are unlikely to be the driving factor of unquestionably soaring malpractice insurance costs.

The AMA is of course up in arms about this study, but to be honest I'm not sure why. The implication of the data as I see them (reported in abstract) is mainly that the insurance companies are fleecing the doctors. So why don't they want to do something about that? My guess is that they'd just like to not have malpractice insurance at all, by making it ridiculously difficult to sue a doctor for anything.

We;re too litigious in the US to be sure, and there are plenty of ways the malpractice laws should be changed, but I kinda like the fact that doctors (and paramedics and firemen and yes, lawyers too) can be held publicly accountable for needless screw-ups.


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