The Diabolical Plan of Lawyers and Democrats to Keep Down Health Care Costs

February 1, 2010 in Health Care "Reform", Medical Legal by RangelMD

Considering the potential health care savings that could be generated by mitigating excessive testing and health care utilization as part of defensive (CYA) medical practice, it has remained very curious as to why the Obama administration the Democratically controlled Congress have virtually ignored malpractice reform as part of their overall health care reform efforts (other than the fact that the trial lawyer lobby gives out political donations to Democrats like a drunken sailor in a Tijuana whore house). Well now a study looking at the effects of increased Medical liability risk has given us the answer.

On average, doctors end up working 1.7 hours less per week when their expected medical liability risk increases by just 10%, according to a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Law and Economics. . .

When something changed the risk of medical liability—such as an adjustment in the maximum amount a jury could award in malpractice cases —doctors adjusted their workload, according to the study. When liability risk increased, physicians saw fewer patients each week to minimize their chance of a lawsuit. When liability risk went down, doctors saw more patients each week.

The economists calculated that physicians working 1.7 hours less per week is the equivalent to “one in 35 physicians leaving a workforce entirely, or about 21,000 physicians.”

And less health care utilization means lower health care costs! The Democrats are not stupid. They are well aware of the massive costs that are likely to result by providing health care for every American without any coherent plan to slow costs. But Sara Palin’s brilliant (in a savant sort of way) warning about “death panels” effectively put an end to any plans to realistically try and control costs by directly limiting utilization. So what better way then to dump it on the doctors and let them deal with it!

Instead of national caps on malpractice jury awards, expect Congress to pass a law establishing minimum amounts for jury awards for malpractice cases! This keeps everyone happy; the lawyers for obvious reasons, the politicians for establishing a national medical malpractice lottery while holding down costs, and the patients who will have more leverage than every to force their doctor’s malpractice insurance company to settle out of court. Everyone is happy except the doctors who will be leaving the profession in ever bigger numbers. But who needs them anyway? It’s health care! People’s lives are at stake. They should be seeing patients for free!

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