Comments on: Reduce the high cost of medical malpractice Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: MarcJeric32 Mon, 21 Dec 2009 12:17:56 +0000 In the US we have about 1,100,000 lawyers; the number of trial lawyers and corporate lawyers engaged in medical malpractice field I estimate at about 100,000. We have a system of justice where anybody can sue anybody and, if losing, can just walk away. Great Britain, Japan, and Germany have a total of some 35,000 lawyers; how come? Well, in those countries when you sue somebody and lose you automatically must pay all the costs of the defendant and of the courts, direct and indirect. Since the trial lawyers here carry the Democrat Party in their pockets there is no hope on any tort reform in the future. Total cost of health care is about $2.6 trillion/year; the cost of malpractice insurance and unnecessary defensive medicine tests is at least 25% of that total. We need tort reform more then we need what the Democrats have cooked up under the phony name of health care reform – which is government takeover applied in steps over the next 10 years.

By: Attorney in NY Tue, 27 Oct 2009 22:16:57 +0000 I’ve searched far and wide for the source of the factoid cited by Ms. Furchtgott-Roth (“10% of your medical bill goes to pay for malpractice insurance”) and only find her assertion of this number, with no supporting study, source or documentation.

This is a remarkable premise, without any support, and which is several times every reputable estimate (e.g. Congressional Budget Office estimating all costs of malpractice insurance, premiums, payouts, administration) at less than 2% national health care costs.

By comparison, the GAO estimates actual fraudulent medical billing by doctors to be 3% to as much as 10% of all health care spending. Therefore dismantle Medicare?

And, keep in mind that any enterprise that produces some social benefit may also have some cost, so even the less-than 2% of actual costs driven by malpractice insurance is simply not, in economic terms, a “dead weight loss” –though the full amount of medical billing fraud (which is far more than the medicare number alone) is certainly a dead-weight social loss.

So who is distorting the proportion of the real issues, and real drivers of health care costs?

Throw in unnecessary drugs from big Pharma, to treat “ADHD”, cosmetic problems, unnecessary arthroscopic surgeries, etc. and you would get a far, far multiple than all costs of malpractice related insurance –and without serving the social good that malpractice torts do serve: to provide at least some, “buck stops here” mentality of accountability for health care professionals when it comes to patient safety.

The larger questions posted here could involve much discussion, but there are just too many “spun” factoids distorting the debate. And Ms. Furchtgott-Roth’s “10% of your bill goes to malpractice insurance” is one of them — unless or until Ms. Furchtgott-Roth can demonstrate any real basis for same.

I also find it disturbing that an individual who is a paid consultant to many industry groups (through her company Furchtgott-Roth Economic Enterprises) keeps getting bylines as simply a “Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute” as though she is some disinterested academic.

Paid public relations people may sometimes have good ideas, but someone who is in the business of representing large corporations in their legislative agendas (including influencing public opinion) should not be passed off as simply a “research academic” as this byline implies.

Also, if Ms. Furchtgott Roth was producing valid, economic scholarship, she would have some citation or authority for her remarkable, outlier “10% of your medical bill=malpractice insurance” factoid –which from everything I’ve read and researched, is simply not true.

By: Michael Tue, 15 Sep 2009 12:25:36 +0000 If you want to increase the number of doctors, why not require all medical schools to accept all qualified applicants compared to the 30-35% they do accept (approx 16000 of 46000 last year). Med schools are controlled by the AMA which keeps the number of doctors low to maximize their incomes. This is a total violation of the free market. What other education based profession is limited by the organized union of that trade? Isn’t this totally un-American? Given that 30% of people who die in hospitals die from mistakes, how is limiting the number of doctors, who would still have to make it through med school, saving lives.

By: andrew Mon, 14 Sep 2009 21:09:10 +0000 I was intrigued to know how much doctors make compared to the cost of the malpractice insurance premiums. After a few minutes of pulling numbers from various sites, I came up with a pseudo conclusion. We are in a crisis, partly due to the cost of the premiums. For example, in Florida there is becoming issue with keeping OBGYNs employed. The average salary in 2009 for an OBGYN is about $220,000. Sounds like a fair salary at first, however, I researched the cost of insurance for this profession and found the the average premium was $264000 in 2003. How can an OBGYNs stay employed if their malpractice insurance is more than they make?

I don’t know about you, but premiums for all my insurance has risen since 2003. I can only imagine what the premiums are today. I do not know any OBGYNs personally in Florida, but I would be curious to know their current premiums. If you disagree with these numbers I encourage you to do your own research.

I also found that in 2003 there were several pieces of legislature that recognized the crisis. The bills intended to limit the “pain and suffering” damages to $250,000 per claimant. That means a person could sue for their medical costs plus an additional $250,000. This would be the case for the person, Journe, that lost an eye. I feel terrible for their loss. But medical care is not a exact science, unfortunately.

Ivan’s post regarding the costs are a bit confusing. This article stated that malpractice cost 10 cents on the dollar or about $10 billion per year. One of Obama’s figures is $2.2 trillion for ten years. That is the initial “downpayment” for the Obama plan. He is comparing one year to ten year costs.

Any thoughts?

By: herewegoagain Thu, 13 Aug 2009 22:32:30 +0000 So this republican hack wants to block our 7th Amendment rights to the point she’s lying about what this has done to Texas??

You know, the state that leads the nation in uninsured? Where health care insurance premiums have risen, not plummeted, every year???

By: thusted Tue, 11 Aug 2009 17:19:26 +0000 Sounds like everyone is confusing costs. Doctors are generally constrained in charges by insurance company’s price schedules which are calculated as a percentage of Medicare fees. Malpractice fees are indeed high but are not directly able to be passed on to patients but are part of business overhead for doctors. The cost of malpractice insurance may only be $10 billion but that doesn’t take into account unneeded testing such as bloodwork, MRI,PET scan, CT that has resulted in “intensity creep” across the entire medical landscape. Ask your friends who have gone to the ER for a headache or abdominal pain and probably 95% had a CT. These are only a few categories of cost that will continue to increase unabated without some different malpractice approach.

By: Frank Castle Tue, 11 Aug 2009 15:27:56 +0000 Why don’t we limit all lawsuits and let people take their chances. I mean so what people die from a dangerous product, if we had less liability that dangerous product would cost less and the company would make more money and isn’t that what people like the author are interested in. More profit for companies or doctors and less protection for consumers. I mean obviously with less oversight and liability of course care would get better…
Heck let’s just get rid of lawsuits and let people take their chances. Lawsuits bad for profits, let’s remember when Ford decided it was cheaper to deal with wrongful deaths than to fix the Pinto. Plus why shouldn’t doctors be making money hand over fist like they used to.

By: Ivan Thu, 06 Aug 2009 19:33:16 +0000 Ms. Furchtgott-Roth’s claim that malpractice costs 10 cents on the dollar is absolute nonsense.

Total Malpractice Premiums collected in the US from Physicians and Hospitals are estimated at $10 Billion a year. Sounds like a lot? Compare that to the total US health care bill of $2.2 Trillion, and you are looking at LESS THAN 1/2 of one percent or closer to 1/2 of a cent on every dollar spent on health care.

Ms. Furchtgott-Roth’s estimates appear to be off by only a couple orders of magnitude and then some.

By: James Brown Thu, 06 Aug 2009 19:29:31 +0000 The cost of medical malpractice is such a gigantic issue for the republicans.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth suggests that “Congress could use health reform legislation to give incentives to states to reduce the costs that lawyers’ fees place on the health system, while still protecting patients.”
Why weren’t the incentives legislated during the bush era? Are you just throwing up issues to stop health reform?

By: Hil Thu, 06 Aug 2009 19:08:14 +0000 Yes. Limit the fees lawyers make and the rates insurers charge. You could even cap the fees doctors charge the patients when they botch a procedure? Did I just say something wrong?