Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama Willing to Impose Malpractice Limits

The New York Times reports that the AMA "has long battled Democrats who oppose protecting doctors from malpractice lawsuits. But during a private meeting at the White House last month, association officials said, they found one Democrat willing to entertain the idea: President Obama." The Times adds that "in closed-door talks, Mr. Obama has been making the case that reducing malpractice lawsuits -- a goal of many doctors and Republicans -- can help drive down health care costs, and should be considered as part of any health care overhaul, according to lawmakers of both parties, as well as A.M.A. officials."

There is NO EVIDENCE that caps on malpractice awards reduce insurance premiums paid by doctors or lead to savings on healthcare costs. This is a horrible idea, and just another myth used to appeal to a particular interest group for political advantage. Tell your elected leaders to oppose caps on damages.

Incidentally, the New York Times also editorialized (6/14) that "As the debate over health care reform unfolds, policy makers and the public need to focus more attention on doctors and the huge role they play in determining the cost of medical care - costs that are rising relentlessly." The paper said, "There is disturbing evidence that many do a lot more than is medically useful - and often reap financial benefits from over-treating their patients." The Times concluded, "Doctors have been complicit in driving up health care costs. They need to become part of the solution."

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