Despite the recent rantings of several local and state American Bar Association leaders, the medical malpractice crisis is real. It’s not some conspiracy by Insurance companies to limit their cost or to (and this one really gets on my nerves when I hear it!) “To place a cost on a life”. (As if the average “Telephone Book” lawyer gives a damn).
The realities are these:
1)Many high-risk practices (Obstetrics/ Emergency Medicine and Several Surgical specialties) have gotten to the point where insurance cost have approached or even surpassed their net (and sometimes gross) income. None of you will work either at a loss or just to pay insurance. This is all coupled with less and less reimbursement.
2)The cost have gone up as a result of an explosion of multimillion-dollar jury awards and the practice of lawyers of creating so much doubt and chaos in a case that it is usually settled out of court (again for millions of dollars).
I’m no insurance company defender, but they are businesses that 1) have to be profitable and they do this by 2) insuring reasonable risk. Medicine has gotten to the point where nobody in their right mind would consider Medicine a “reasonable” risk. (Hey. I’ve got a novel idea. What if the American Bar Association began to offer insurance to Doctors?)
3)We have gotten to the point in several states where the only option for Malpractice Insurance are “physician pools”…and these are even beginning to be threatened. When they fall, other options simply won’t be there.
This post is NOT meant to say that mistakes and malpractice do not happen. (Envitably, these arguments digress into somebody wheeling out an injured loved one, or telling the story of how someone in Medicine injured them). Malpractice DOES occur.
Nor am I simply blaming laywers. (Actually…I think that they are merely a reflection of our “blame” society…and they “reflect” very well, I must say…)
With that being said, Americans need to face some hard choices, and in this case there are two: 1) The realization that life is not some zero-sum experience and that there must always be someone else to blame when it takes a difficult road and 2) Are handfuls of multi-million dollar awards worth the reality of literally millions of people not getting care?