Monday, December 6, 2010

Legal Expert Says Malpractice Reform Would Produce Only Modest Healthcare Savings

In the CBS News Political Hotsheet blog, lawyer and researcher Paula Reid states that the national debt commission's recommendations to reform medical malpractice suits would amount to only "a tiny fraction" of savings when compared to the total national debt.  Reid wrote: "Critics argue that malpractice suits increase insurance premiums for doctors and result in unnecessary – and expensive – tests and services to avoid exposure to lawsuits."  Among the panel's recommendations "are specialized 'health courts' for medical malpractice lawsuits which could streamline cases and reduce costs."  UCLA law professor Mark Grady said "I'd be worried that medical errors would become a bigger problem if 'health courts' forgave medical errors so long as the doctors and hospitals used the 'best practices.'"  Reid added, "The panel doesn't seem to address what many perceive as the underlying purpose of medical malpractice liability, which is to prevent errors and thereby prevent many lawsuits."

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