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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:28 AM
Original message
Obama announces push for malpractice reform.
Just now in a speech at the University of Maryland.

Thank goodness.

I know this isn't a tremendously popular position around here, but as a medical student who is currently being taught to practice defensive medicine, the prospect of reform pleases me.


Looking forward to discussing this both with those who agree and those who do not...
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Gman2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
1. It is a necessary part of reform, but maybe not attached.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Part of deal w. some members.
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. It's a big concern among doctors in risky fields...
...who pay a huge amount in malpractice insurance fees. Particularly amongst young doctors who are facing enormous medical school debt (often over $200,000) and making salaries commensurate with their "young doctor" status. They're worried what "cost reduction" could mean for them financially.

It's a legitimate concern, IMO.

I think a fascinating study would be one among residents and young physicians to determine attitudes towards single payer health care compared to medical school debt. But that's another discussion.
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MidwestTransplant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Blame the insurance, not the malpractice laws. In states which have "reformed" malpractice,
insurance rates for docs haven't come down. It's because it's a MONOPOLY.
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. When Obama says he is pursuing "malpractice reform"...
I would hope that means comprehensive reform.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. He/they're doing a pilot study.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. and Senator Leahy's bill to revoke ins. cos. antitrust exemption should pass!
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. Oh, so he's going to save the doctors
while throwing the insureds to the wolves?

Sorry. I smell "bipartisanship" all over this one.

Not a dime to "malpractice reform" till people can actually afford to get sick in this country and not lose everything they have. What's more, their right to appropriate care (and consequences for doctor error,) should be protected, too.

:mad:
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Gman2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. You CANNOT curtail frivolous tests and procedures, if they are still frightened.
WE need good faith and action exemption.
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Is there health care without doctors?
Or at least comprehensive health care the "insureds" are covered for?

Defensive medicine hurts patients more than it does doctors. It racks up costs, their premiums and exposes them to unnecessary risks due to repeated testing.

You might look into the impending obstetrician crisis due, in large part, to skyrocketing malpractice costs. It does not bode well for our already egregious infant mortality rates.
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populistdriven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. exactly, this is about reducing frivolous tests and procedures, which are a HUGE WASTE OF MONEY
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Why don't you explain to someone who, for instance, has the wrong leg removed in surgery
that it's a "frivolous test or procedure" to make sure the doctor involved is operating on the correct body part?

"Frivolous tests and procedures"? The Libertarians and others who parrot RW talking points here aren't even trying anymore.

:eyes:
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
26. Oh please, those accidents are not caused by lack of testing.
They're caused by lack of communication in the operating room.

Now it's obvious you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. It's obvious that you won't look at anything else but the doctor's POV, either
For those of us who've been misdiagnosed or worse by doctors who had less than our best interests at heart, your plan does nothing but let doctors off the hook to the detriment of patient care. Period.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. Oh, it's all the "repeated testing"
>It racks up costs, their premiums and exposes them to unnecessary risks due to repeated testing.<

I call bullshit. When the medical community starts policing themselves first, they can have their "malpractice reform".

Here's a little example. My husband is diabetic. One of the drugs he took, Avandia, has quite a history, including the testimony of a doctor in front of Congress that he was threatened by the drug's manufacturer when he tried to alert people that one of the side effects is significant cardiac involvement, up to and including heart attacks. I asked my husband's endocrinologist to take him off the drug. Immediately. There are other options.

The endo in question not only refused, he said he could not in all good conscience stop prescribing the drug. Imagine our surprise to learn that he is on the payroll of the drug company that makes Avandia. He does "presentations" for other doctors on the drug.

We're now seeing another doctor. DH has not been on the drug for over a year. If anything had happened to him as a result, I would have filed a suit that broke someone's finger off in the zero key while typing the amount.

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Individualist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. +1
A number of years ago a rheumatologist prescribed Vioxx for me when I already had extensive coronary atherosclerosis. If I had taken it, it most likely would have killed me. Vioxx was subsequently taken off the market.
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
27. And how would you have felt if your husband had to be irradiated 5 times...
In various CT-scans and MRI's to tell the doctor what he or she already knew from physical exam, but were done "just in case"?

Doctors having unethical relationships with pharmaceutical companies has nothing to do whatsoever with the issue of repeated and unnecessary tests.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. Hey, cupcake, just throwing this one out here
We're both in our forties. I can't remember the last time we had "repeated and duplicate testing" on any health issue.

I believe your issue is, as another poster has already noted, nothing more than a red herring. I'd also love to feel sorry for you, but you have the ability to have your college loans forgiven through a myriad of choices when you leave school, for instance. The rest of us aren't quite so lucky. Doctors have put themselves in this position by refusing to clean up the mess while covering for other incompetent or impaired physicians over the years. Don't ask the consumer to forgo their ability to sue when there is malpractice as a result.
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T Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
12. By all means, let's protect drunk and drugged-out docs who kill patients. The truth is that
malpractice is a ridiculously small part of the problem. But it is used as a weapon to attack medical care and the attorneys who back democratic politicians.

A red herring if there ever was one.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. You obviously are not a medical professional. Malpractice is NOT a "ridiculously small part"
A large part of costs go into malpractice insurance. It is a huge problem. The insurance companies win on both sides: from the people who need coverage and from the doctors who need protection in the event they make a mistake and are sued.

This isn't about drunk and drugged-out docs. It's about the reducing the cost overhead of every medical professional.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Malpractice is a small part of the problem, true
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:05 PM by HamdenRice
But avoiding malpractice and insuring against it is a HUGE part of the problem. So in a way, you're both right.

Doctors are now paying stupid crazy sums, like over $100G per year for insurance. At the same time, because of the way the law defines what a "reasonable" doctor is supposed to have done to avoid malpractice, vast amounts are spent on lab tests that are unnecessary.

Yet few doctors actually make really bad mistakes and get sued, so, in a way, it's a small problem with a super gigantic cost.

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T Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. IF the problem is not with large malpractice settlments, why attack patients who suffer at the hands
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:32 PM by T Wolf
of physicians?

Instead, go after the insurance companies (sound familiar?) who profit from the system they have set up.

Again - a problem that would be solved by government-run, single-payer healthcare. But of course, we cannot threaten the monetary profits of the insurance corps, the physicians, the hospitals, or anyone else. Only the patients (remember us - the consumers?) will continue to get screwed financially or killed/maimed medically.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. I don't think that's necessarily what malpractice reform is
A lot of it has to do with the specific legal doctrines that are used to determine if a doctor is negligent. Those doctrines require him or her to use excessive lab tests to avoid liability.

Another is to reduce litigation costs -- the amount that goes to lawyers (1/3) -- by creating some sort of system similar to workmen's comp.

The main impact on settlements would be to limit punitive damages and excessive damages to the amount actually needed to take care of the injured patient for life.
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
15. knr...
"...I know this isn't a tremendously popular position around here, but as a medical student who is currently being taught to practice defensive medicine, the prospect of reform pleases me...."

My daughter says the same thing.


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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
16. More triangulation. nt
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
17. Reduce Malpractice Insurance and you reduce Costs tremendously.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
21. This is bullshit. Obama is looking like a corporatist more and more every day.
Edwards would NEVER have allowed this to happen.
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Lucy Goosey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
22. The average Miami neurosurgeon pays $237K for malpractice insurance; in Toronto it's $29K
And Toronto is the most expensive city in Canada - in Vancouver, the 3rd largest city, neurosurgeons pay $10K.

The difference is massive profits for malpractice insurance companies. Canadian doctors are covered by a non-profit private insurer. Elimination or seriously regulating the private insurers would go a long way to reducing doctors' premiums while still allowing patients to sue.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/article1021977.ece

Is anybody even talking about this aspect of malpractice insurance? Think of how much cheaper it would be to see a neurosurgeon if they were paying less than $30K for insurance instead of paying over $200K. It would reduce costs for patients without cutting into the surgeons' salaries.
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. +1
This is exactly the problem.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. This.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
31. Uh, I don' t think so
>Think of how much cheaper it would be to see a neurosurgeon<

There isn't a doctor in the world that would reduce his or her rates for "less malpractice costs". I was talking with a guy in our hometown a month ago that figured out his oncology doctor is making ten million a year, for instance. When you're scheduling ten patients an hour, you're not interested in giving great patient care. You're interested in billing. Period.


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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #22
33. Canada doesn't have nearly the culture of lawsuits we do in this country.
No other country in the world sues as much as we do. Not even close.
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Lucy Goosey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. Yes, true....
as a Canadian, I just don't really think of that as a bad thing. :)
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
25. Too bad.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
34. And DUers everywhere celebrate the restriction of their rights.
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