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Obama on Medical Malpractice Reform and Health Care

So we all know that President Obama is talking about some type of Health Care reform in America.  I can tell you from years of representing those injured in car accidents, here in Raleigh and across the state of North Carolina, that we need some type of health care reform.  The folks that need coverage the most often can not get it.  And small businesses (even law firms) see their premiums rise EVERY YEAR.  My health insurance premiums for my firm have gone up nearly 10% every year for the past 8 years.

So as part of the political debate, Obama is talking about changing health insurance, but he is also talking about medical malpractice reform.  Some of my fellow trial lawyers are getting stirred up because we don't think that extending coverage of health care ought to also limit an injured person's access to justice.

Here are some links which discuss Obama's comments in the last few days:

Obama Talks Up Liability Reform
Politico
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23783.html
 
In Pitch to AMA, Obama Paints Mixed Picture
Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/15/AR2009061501744.html
 
Cost Concerns as Obama Pushes Health Issue
New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/health/policy/16obama.html?hpw
 
Obama Calls Cost of Healthcare a Threat to Economy
Chicago Tribune/LA Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-obama-ama16-2009jun16,0,1354461.story
 
I tend to agree with the gist of the Politico article:  Obama has to keep all options on the table and speak in terms that ever player in the debate feels are near and dear to their interests.

I think the debate will be rational, and because of that I think that the data which show that very little of the overall cost of health care has anything to do with malpractice lawsuits will not be ignored.  There are things that can be done to decrease the cost of lawsuits.  Call it reform or not, that's up to you.

I commonly request that each side to a malpractice suit be limited in the number of expert witnesses who can be used on a certain subject.  Almost universally the lawyers for the Doctors will not voluntarily limit the number of expert witnesses.  This increases the costs to defend these suits.  There is one liability reform I'm fine with implementing.

Chris Nichols

www.NicholsTrialLaw.com 1.800.906.5984

Comments

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Misa

I think Obama is doing what supposed he should do.. and I admire him for that..

Anthony Cerullo

The Indirect cost of medicine is the problem. When you practice medicine in the US there is a 60-70% chance you will get sued at least once in your career and a good chance the damages in this suit will exceed policy limits. Physicians try to aviod the lawsuit so they order thousands of extra tests / year therefore adding to the cost of YOUR healthcare. If Obama wants to correct the problem he needs to offer physicians the same medical malpractice coverage offered to goverment medical employees with unlimited policy limits thus allowing doctors to worry less about losing their assets and worry more about practicing evidence based medicine. There is no way he will be able to make doctors accept goverment issued medical plans without providing doctors goverment issued medical malpractice with unlimited policy limits.....PERIOD.

lisa

Obama is such a genius president. I salute him.

Robin Smith

As far as Obama is concerned he is a great man in developing country's health stability. He is much more better than Mr. Bush who only involve in war.. Medical Mall Practice is a very important issue now-a-days. So we should always take care of it.

http://abcd121.createblog.com/blog/entry.php?id=28536

Robin Smith

Really brilliant post. Doctors should always responsible in nature for patients. Negligence in clinical sector will be harmful in some cases. Well done by Obama..

http://abcd121.createblog.com/blog/entry.php?id=28822

David Martella

I will soon be loosing (amputation) my lower left leg because a doctor in my town, Cleveland, TN, placed an infected rod in my leg, I got several infections as well as holes in my leg, I tried to sue the doctor and hospital but case was thrown out of court because doctors won't sue doctors, nor will they testify against each other, so I couldn't find a "specialist" for my case. The laws must change in favor of the patients/citizens of this country and not for the politicians/physicians, if this kind of nonsense continues there will be nothing left but a bunch of amputees and certificates of death as well as physicians causing murder and reckless endangerment and getting away with it.

Green Tea

Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

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Malpractice laws are aimed to deter unsafe medical practice and compensate persons injured through negligence; however, as few as 2% of negligent injuries result in claims, and only 17% of claims involve negligent injury.

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Let Obama do his job for this one and let's wait what would be the outcome of his health care reform agenda.

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