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With all the meta going around, I thought I would try to redirect all the energy here:  I would like to pass along an anecdote from today, a conversaition with my conservative parents about health care reform.

You see, Republicans are just as outraged with the status quo as any good liberal, despite all the wingnut drama we see on the teevee.  

(Yes I said liberal.  I'm tired of the political correctness of "progressive."  Let's be proud liberals like Teddy was.)

Anyhow, both of my parents, who just "achieved" Medicare status a few years ago, and both of whom had serious need for medical insurance of some sort during the interim, rail against the injustice of the current scam of an insurance system.

My father has liver cancer and my mother has type two diabetes (and she's not even that overweight).  But.

But my mom revealed, shocker, that she is susceptible to the propaganda out there because just last week she said she was so outraged about what they endured during their pre-Medicare 50's when they were denied coverage, that she supported a public health insurance option.

Now, due mostly to all the propaganda on the teevee, she is hedging, along with my conservative father.

Ok, great.  What do the rank and file repubs want?

Tort reform.

But dad, how do you keep the lawyers honest?

You have some sort of oversight board.

Ok, that sounds fair.

What say you fellow liberals?

Shall we throw them a bone? If I am just being ignorant, I apoligize in advance:  I just think that their complaints about a corrupt system are valid.

Originally posted to a gnostic on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:43 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm with you, to an extent (9+ / 0-)

    I'll trade tort reform for a non-AMA mechanism to kick the worst doctors out of the profession.  Right now it's too hard to do that, and we should put the 95% in the position of weighing their continued well-being against the protection of the other 5%.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:45:53 PM PDT

  •  What? (20+ / 0-)

    What do you mean by tort reform?

    I don't think people appreciate how difficult it is to bring and sustain a medical malpractice suit.  Additionally, it's a negligible, nonexistent cost of health care; this is a scam brought by people who don't want any regulation whatsoever.  

    What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

    by Alec82 on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:46:38 PM PDT

  •  Great. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gnostic

    Now piss off the lawyers.

    Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

    by bugscuffle on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:46:48 PM PDT

  •  They won't vote for it (15+ / 0-)

    no matter what you throw them.

    They will offer up hundreds of amendments aimed at watering down the bill and making it less effective.  Then they will turn around and vote against it.

    This is their strategy and it has been acknowledged.

    Don't throw them anything.  There is no honest dealing with this group of Republicans.

    Here is the phrase that we need to keep in mind:  Remember the stimulus bill.

    •  but (3+ / 0-)

      i want those people's support.

      i don't care about the pols.  they are lost souls.

      i do however want the non-wingnut repub support.

      •  How and why? (3+ / 0-)

        If we are able to get real reform, there will be support from non-wingnut Republicans because things will be better for everyone.

        A better approach for getting their support would be to educate them on the fact that malpractice suits are not a significant factor in the cost of health care.  Show them the numbers and the facts.  If they are reasonable they are getting information from the mainstream media.

        •  just a bone (0+ / 0-)

          i just want a bone.  i understand that our attorney friends are all that's keeping the insurance industry from completely perverting the heath care system.

          i just want a bone thrown to get a public option.

          •  The public option is the bone (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it is the compromise.

            •  joanneleon (0+ / 0-)

              can you really say with a straight face that the public health insurance option isn't a trojan horse for universal health care?

              public option is the whole enchilada.

              everyone knows it.  it is the right thing to do in the face of evil, profit for human blood evil.

              we've been fighting for the public health insurance option all this time. to take the power away from the insurance industry murder by spreadsheet criminals is the goal.

              the public health insurance option does that.

              so now we're working to keep that alive and that means stopping the legal abuses.

              •  It seems to me without single payer, (0+ / 0-)

                universal health care will be extremely expensive.

              •  As it's written now (0+ / 0-)

                the public option will only cover a small percentage of the people who have health insurance today.  

                It's not really an option for everyone, and it doesn't get implemented until 2013.  It's only available to people who do not have an employer who offers health insurance, or if they don't offer insurance that is less than a certain percentage of their taxable income.  CBO estimates that it will only cover about 10 million people, and that's not a significant percentage.  And it's not like people can just say, heck with it, I'm tossing my private insurance and taking the public option, so it remains to be seen how effective it will be in introducing competition.  It will only be competition for the current junk insurance offered to individuals and small businesses.  Group insurance through employers will remain.

                If we can toughen up the public option legislation and make it available to more people in a shorter period of time, and tie it to Medicare, it might be, as you say, a trojan horse.  Personally I don't care for the term "trojan horse" though, since I think it's a fair deal and that insurance companies can adapt to compete.  They've certainly got room in their margins.  They can do other things to compete too, like offering new, creative solutions that would be more difficult for the public option to implement since it would require legislation.  

                So, the short answer is, IMHO, as it stands, I would say that it is not a trojan horse.

        •  The problem is that lawsuits are a very serious (0+ / 0-)

          issue in medicine.  

          In fact our lawsuit system makes medicine much more dangerous as medical quality requires an open system and lawsuits force medicine to keep secrets for fear of a lawsuit.  Thus no practical review in medical cases.

      •  but, but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon, a gnostic, Alec82

        "Non-Wingnut" repugs either hardly exist anymore or they are quiet and may agree with you intellectually but tactically (and cynically) they will never publically agree with you and allow their wingnut allies to destroy ANY initiative comming from "the Kenyan".

        As a practical matter, I'd also agreee with some adjustments in the tort process in exchange for real health reform, but that's assuming you are dealing with reasonable people of good faith.  

        •  they're out there (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          unfortunately we on the web sometimes, with our petulant meta wars, reinforce their views of liberals.

          take this weekend for example for christ's sake!

          •  When it comes to health care reform (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            we're focused and serious -- very little petulance.

          •  They are out there... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Whether the non wingnuts are willing to buck their party's leadership and forgo NRCC and NRSC funds.

            I'm sure there are some sane republicans, but until they have the guts to buck their party's leadership and vote a non-wingnut platform, I hold them in the same contempt as I do the wingers.

            ...After all, no republicans in the house voted for the stimulus, and Snowe, Collins and Spectre were the only senators to vote for it. The (R) party had already basically pulled funds from those three anyway.

            All the compromise, all the wasted money to sate republican neoliberal Friedmanite winger ideology, and we got no house members and 3 senators.

            No...No bones. Not until they demonstrate that they have an interest in actually making policy instead of politics.

            It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. -RWE

            by Gravedugger on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:34:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Their support? That may take longer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        How about we ram it through and make it work. Then their rantings about 'it can't be done' will be toast.
        Tort reform may be needed, but the system needs to be fixed first.

    •  Very true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joanneleon, CMYK

      We have to move forward on HCR without Republicans.  They're not going to support anything.

      They'll thank us for it later.

      Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff - Sen. Sherrod Brown

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:23:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I completely understand what you are saying (5+ / 0-)

    I don't see any, not a single solitary shred, of sincere good faith on the Right.

    I would certainly be willing to open up a dialogue with a good faith partner in a negotiation.

    What I see on the Right is "we win by denying Obama everything, by killing that which we have dubbed 'ObamaCare', and nothing but a humiliating defeat across the board will do."

    If the Democrats get any healthcare bill passed, even the most mediocre bill that is basically a health insurance industry bonanza, the Movement Conservative Right sees that as a surrender and a massive defeat.

    You need good faith to negotiate a compromise.

    Obama getting any healthcare bill is seen as a "surrender".

    100% Concern Troll Proof

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:49:29 PM PDT

    •  There are more than enough Democrats (5+ / 0-)

      willing to abandon just about anything to get a 'bipartisan' bill passed. A lack of will to compromise is not the problem. A willingness to negotiate isn't the problem.

      Bad faith is.

      The goal for the GOP is "nothing".

      It's hard to negotiate with that.

      Goalposts provided by Movement Conservatives have wheels on them.

      100% Concern Troll Proof

      by LeftHandedMan on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:53:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is the GOP compromise bill for healthcare: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CMYK, Azazello
        1. No healthcare reform.
        1. Everything we want on tort reform.

        I'm not being sarcastic. That isn't snark.  

        That is the agenda.

        Also: I do not think you are ignorant. Not at all. I think you are simply underestimating the office holding Movement Conservative Right based on a conversation with your conservative parents serving as a frame of reference for conservatives.

        100% Concern Troll Proof

        by LeftHandedMan on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:57:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  WHY? Do you honestly believe that will (6+ / 0-)

    change anything?

    It won't.

    866-338-1015 toll-free to Congress in D.C. USE it!

    by cany on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:53:09 PM PDT

  •  Throw them a chocolate-covered hand grenade. (5+ / 0-)

    Name every morgue in America after Ronald Reagan.

    I can haz rashunality?

    by Troubadour on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:53:34 PM PDT

  •  I think we need to understand (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, Alec82, CMYK

    that the only compromise that would interest the republicans is one that gives them everything they want.

    "The Work Begins Anew, The Hope Rises Again, And The Dream Lives On" ____________Ted Kennedy

    by pollbuster on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:53:59 PM PDT

    •  Again, that is true of Republican politicians -- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      virtually all of them and the hardcore ideologues that are a majority of their voters. But, I think that it is a bare majority of their voters and that there are millions of Republican citizens that could be brought to support strong health care reform. Tort reform, if it does not eliminat the possibility of taking on drug companies and/or real malpractice, but perhaps caps settlements in some way or penalizes frivolous suits, or provides non-profit public malpractice insurance for doctors might be useful to bring more people along. People as distinct from Republican Senators who are Satan's spawn as near as I can tell.  

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:00:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the problem is that (0+ / 0-)

        these republicans have been elected and are not asking anyone's opinion on how they should vote on health-care. They are all determined to send it down to defeat.

        "The Work Begins Anew, The Hope Rises Again, And The Dream Lives On" ____________Ted Kennedy

        by pollbuster on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:06:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I certainly haver no illusions about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          reaching those 'people'. I just think about prosperous, rational, non-hyperchristian, non-neocon, non-racist fiscal conservative friends and relatives who might, just might, realize that those who represent their party in public office are now all complete idiots.

          We have only just begun and none too soon.

          by global citizen on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:18:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  How about if it helps (0+ / 0-)

          reach those reasonable republicans in say...Nebraska?

          Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by NLinStPaul on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:52:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Uh, we already did (6+ / 0-)

    So, right there in the Cabinet Room, the President put a proposal on the table, according to two people who were present. Obama said he was willing to curb malpractice awards, a move long sought by Republicans that is certain to bring strong opposition from the trial lawyers who fund the Democratic Party.

    What, he wanted to know, did the Republicans have to offer in return?

    Nothing, it turned out. Republicans were unprepared to make any concessions, if they had any to make.

    ...supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. -Sun Tzu

    by COkdub on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 03:54:38 PM PDT

  •  I heard Moran's townhall the other night and he (4+ / 0-)

    and Gov Dean stated that number one it would mean more enemies against the bill (trial lawyer I assume), number two if they added it the Republicans probably still wouldn't vote for it, and number three that it would then have to go thru the Judicial commitee and it would never pass out of that committee because that commitee is super partisan.

    •  obama could change that dynamic (0+ / 0-)

      in a heartbeat...

      i just think a few common sense reforms to stop the abuses could go a long way for the permanence of the new health care system that IS going to pass, most likely under reconciliation.

      •  The abuses are being committed by (0+ / 0-)

        the insurance industry in the way they gouge docs for malpractice insurance. Payouts for actual malpractice comprise a tiny portion of healthcare costs. The call for "tort reform" is a winger talking point to distract away from the need to regulate the insurance industry or do away with it altogether -- it's a completely unnecessary bloated layer that exists just to make a few guys uberwealthy at everyone else's expense.

        Healthcare and the profit motive don't belong together -- they have opposite objectives.

        Help thy brother's boat across the stream, and Lo! Thine own has reached the shore. --Hindu proverb

        by CMYK on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 12:59:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My understanding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gnostic

    is that most countries which have universal healthcare have some form of what is commonly referred to as "tort reform."

    Give me universal healthcare first.

    •  public health insurance option (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      White Buffalo

      may very well be the beginning of univeral health care coverage.

      so why not throw our more reasonable republican friends a bone?

      •  That's what I mean in the punchline (0+ / 0-)

        Probably should have been clearer. I'm a single-payer supporter so I consider the current battle a beginning instead of an end within itself. When we eventually get single-payer universal healthcare (which we will because there won't be any other option), my guess this evening would be that we would have to institute some form of tort reform in order to contain costs; however, there's no reason to put it on the table until we actually get single-payer universal healthcare.  

        •  With single payer (0+ / 0-)

          you don't need to sue for additional medical costs - because there aren't any.

          So you automatically get tort reform with single payer.

          I know in New Zealand you are not allowed to sue for medical malpractice at all as they have a special fund to compensate people for accidents, as well as their single-payer medical system.

          I have asked many Republicans how they would reform torts and still compensate people who were harmed, and they didn't have much of an idea.

          A panel would be one idea.  Another that would be nice is if the AMA actually policed their own.

  •  You want to throw them a bone they'll choke on? (0+ / 0-)

    Offer to open ANWR to highly controlled exploitation, all proceeds to funding a public option.

    Drill baby, drill.

  •  I would throw them the whole hog (0+ / 0-)

    Let's just get rid of torts in medicine.

    As it is it is just a racket for lawyers.

    In Illinois for example a lawsuit needs a doctor to write a letter claiming that the suit has merit.

    But this is absurd because now we have a doctor doing legal opinions.  And like a doctor is really going to want to do this out of the goodness of his heart.  It is all just a scam.

    •  'scuse me? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob B

      So a patient would just be left to deal with whatever harm the injuries inflicted by a bad doctor by themselves? The doctor would be allowed to get away with it?


      Planning a March for Accountability

      by Chacounne on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:10:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I wrote further down. (0+ / 0-)

        As it is now a lawsuit is the only real review a medical case gets.  As it is now the usual complaint gets no review because a lawsuit is too expensive.

        So in most medical cases there is no review under the tort system.  This is no good at all.

        A lawsuit should be the last resort.  

        I think the best system would be a no fault injury insurance system like some countries have.  


  •  I'd support some sort of caps on (0+ / 0-)

    the outrageous malpractice insurance premiums out there, but there are already too few routes for people that have really been victimized without adding a few more flaming hoops between them and justice.  I know the current system has problems, but tort reform is largely our, in my opinion.

  •  Malpractice insurance? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguinsong, QueenMaeve

    If malpractice lawsuits are such a small part of the medical costs, then why is malpractice insurance so high? I have heard doctors say they have a difficult time between student loans and insurance making a living, especially as a primary care physician. But then again, I was told by a doctor that once one gets into medical school, they usually get that degree, regardless of how 'bad' a doctor they might be.

    So is this another case of the insurance company charging outrageous costs for insurance, this time to the doctors? Or is it a case of too many bad doctors graduating into the medical field, courtesy of AMA?

    I honestly don't know the answers so am asking here. I have doctor friends and lawyer friends and both give me different views but I have no idea what is actually true.

  •  what about writing off malpractice premiums (0+ / 0-)

    as a business expense?

    Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. Addams Family credo

    by mydailydrunk on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:05:38 PM PDT

    •  That sounds reasonable. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Or, better yet, apply the reforms they're using on health insurance to malpractice insurance as well.

      It's the cost of the imsurance that's the problem, not the malpractice verdicts.

      "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

      by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:21:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  would also need a mechanism to prevent (0+ / 0-)

        runaway costs.  I really don't know enough about the malpractice insurance industry to go any further.

        But just for shits and giggles, I'd be interested to have the Doctors list their per patient unit premium in a spectrum vs. other practitioners within the same discipline.

        Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. Addams Family credo

        by mydailydrunk on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:29:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Pshaw, this is just wingnut excuse for doing zip. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, Bush Bites

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:12:59 PM PDT

  •  I saw a health care expert speak recently. (0+ / 0-)

    He said, at most, tort reform might eliminate 1 percent of the wasted money in healthcare, and another 4 percent of the wasted money in unnecessary test (defensive medicine).

    It's a read herring the wingnuts throw out all time but it means nothing.

    (And, funny how they never want to go after the insurance companies for overcharging for malpractice insurance. Instead, they want to go after the potential victims of malpractice.)

    "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:18:03 PM PDT

    •  Why should insurance companies want to overcharge (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites

      in medical malpractice as opposed to insuring anything else?

      •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bleeding blue

        Funny how nobody even says; "Hey, wait a minute. The insurance companies are ripping everybody off on every other kind of insurance. How do we know they're not scamming the doctors on medical malpractice insurance too?"

        "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

        by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:23:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know, (0+ / 0-)

      5% sounds like a pretty good savings to me.

      If my calculations are right - that would be $110 billion.

      Unlike the republicans, I recognize that alone isn't the answer - but it would sure help.

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by NLinStPaul on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 05:03:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't you mean how do you keep doctors (0+ / 0-)


  •  Bill Bradley (0+ / 0-)

    Suggested the same in an editorial today. He said incorporating malpractice reform into a bill would be a good compromise. I would agree this would be a worthwhile would work.

    I'm just not sure more than 1-2 Republicans
    would be willing to vote for any health care reform bill. We might get Olympia Snowe and Voinovich but that's it.

    •  I wouldn't be too sure even about Voinovich. n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  Yeah, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He isn't a southern Republican and he's not running for re-election. He may not feel as much pressure to follow party line.

        I thought Orrin Hatch's tone was a little more open to compromise this morning on ABC This Week. But we will see. I have a hard time believing Ted Kennedys passing will reshape the tone of debate much.

        •  I agree with your point but he's always been (0+ / 0-)

          quite conservative and pro-business. I don't recall him being a populist. The plan he will compromise on will necessarily be quite weak. We'll see. I'm confident they'll pass smth fairly decent by spring or earlier. But if we scream louder, it will probably make a final bill better (e.g. include public option).

  •  If we had guaranteed universal coverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    There would be no need for tort reform, it would take care of itself.

    People sue doctors and hospitals not just to be punitive, but mainly to help pay for the medical consequences of a goof-up, and the real possibility of facing higher insurance premiums (or outright denial) down the road.

    If there was universal coverage, the victim would be be taken care of without additional costs and haggling. This is bound to decrease lawsuits.

    •  Not how it works (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's ALL about the punitive damages.  That's where the big money is.

      I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

      by The Navigator on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:43:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How often do you think punitive damages are (0+ / 0-)

        awarded?  And do you know anything about what the threshold is from state to state to be able to recover punitive damages?

        I guess I'm not the "essential element," either.

        by gooderservice on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:56:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          What does that have to do w/ anything?

          Do YOU even know what punitive damages are?  If you don't, let me know, I'll be happy to explain it.

          I merely stated that punitive damages is where the big money is in these lawsuits.  That's a FACT (one of those things that is not up for dispute). Medical expenses and lost wages only add up so much.

          Oh.  You're making the reflexive assumption that I'm advocating tort reform as the magic bullet for health care reform. I'm not. It's one component.  But it IS an important component.

          I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

          by The Navigator on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 05:13:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  While it may be a "fact" as you say, (0+ / 0-)

            it's also a "fact" that it's extremely hard to prove and win punitive damages.

            Out of 100 med mal cases, how many are awarded punitive damages?

            You said you'd be happy to explain, so please do.

            And because you say tort reform is only one component to healthcare reform but it is an important component doesn't make it so.  That's your opinion, which you're entitled to, but you're not entitled to state it as a fact.

            Why is it an important component?  Why is it necessary to legislate tort reform?  How much cost savings will it produce?

            I guess I'm not the "essential element," either.

            by gooderservice on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 05:28:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you know ANYTHING about the law? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Punitive damages are no "harder" to prove than any other damages.  They arise from the same negligent behavior that allows for expenses and lost wages.  They are designed as a kind of punishment as a deterrent to future bad behavior (not just from the tortuous individual, but from others).

              And I never said tort reform as an important component of health care reform was a fact. I said punitive damages being where the big money can be found is a FACT. Which it is.  Guy making 50,000k a year with 100,000k of medical expenses, maybe another 100K of lost wages, maybe 500,000 in pain and suffering is maybe 700,000. Punitive damages can be in the millions, tens of millions, on a single case.

              Republicans want tort reform b/c they are in the back pocket of insurers; dems don't want it b/c they are in the back pocket of trial lawyers.  You believe the first; you're not intellectually honest enough to admit the second.

              But all that's beside the point. I'm getting a little tired of coming on here and stating an opinion and having someone like you come on here w/ some smug know it all comment (when really you know nothing).  Try learning something and being civil.

              Don't bother to respond. I can see that you have problems around here w/ more than me.

              I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

              by The Navigator on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 05:36:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It's not just a matter.... (0+ / 0-)

          ...of how often punitive damages are awarded, or how much they are.  The fact is, they have a HUGE impact on malpractice insurance premiums, which is where the big impact in health care costs comes in, even more so than any actual damages awarded.

          Didn't think about that though, did you?

          I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

          by The Navigator on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 06:08:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  States are starting to cap punitive damages (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gooderservice, The Navigator

        $250,000 is a figure I see a lot.

        Now, while that's a fair chunk of change, it's not a lot given the cost of a trial. There is the possibility of losing, and without the big payoff, there is little incentive for a lawyer to take it on the come.

        So, the victim gets screwed and the doctor's malpractice insurance continues to rise.

    •  You have a partially good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bleeding blue

      that I never thought of.

      If the best doctor in the world injures a patient due to a mistake, you're right, all additional medical coverage caused by that mistake would be covered by universal coverage.

      However, there still would need to be an amount awarded for lost wages, if any, and some amount for pain and suffering.  It doesn't have to be kind of like "hit the lottery" amount, but something.

      I guess I'm not the "essential element," either.

      by gooderservice on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:58:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Malpractice: less than 2% of health care spending (4+ / 0-)

    Malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of health care spending.  See page 1 of "Limiting Tort Liability for Medical Malpractice":

    Second, if we had a single payer system where everyone's medical expenses were covered, then there would be less need to sue to recover damages, and what tort "problem" exists would virtually disappear.  One would hope that malpractice would disappear, too, but...

  •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...since most dems in congress (particularly the house) are wholly owned by trial lawyers, I wouldn't count on this happening any time soon.  Howard Dean said as much himself.

    I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

    by The Navigator on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:42:22 PM PDT

  •  They did tort reform in Texas (3+ / 0-)

    and it did not result in either a reduction of malpractice premiums or a reduction in insurance premiums for regular people.

    All it did was keep justice from the hands of more and more people who were medically wronged and needed the legal system to be made whole.

    No on tort reform.

    It doesn't work.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:43:57 PM PDT

  •  Red herring. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The last information I got was that med mal insurance represented only 1% of healthcare premiums.

    With some exceptions, it's a myth that there is runaway med mal lawsuits.

    Good lawyers won't even take a med mal case if there is not a reasonable chance to win it.

    Bad lawyers will take the case, but it won't last very long and it will never get to a courtroom.

    In the first case, the cost to litigate it can run, and does, in the tens of thousands of dollars.

    Imagine you're good at your job, a plaintiff comes to you, you look over the case, if you don't think you can reasonably win it, meaning there is evidence to show negligence, would you expend that money for nothing?

    Doctors make mistakes every day; they're human.  When they do make mistakes, their patients are harmed.  Sometimes the injury is easy to fix and there is no residual from it; other times the injury is catastrophic.

    If you have a crack in your sidewalk that you never fixed, someone trips over it, injures themselves, is out of work for a short or a long time, IT'S YOUR FAULT.  Your homeowner's insurance will cover that expense, if you're sued and lose in court, if they come to a settlement agreement... but you'd better hope that the injuries, wage loss, and pain and suffering aren't worth more than your coverage allows, or else you'll be paying out of pocket.

    The same "citizens" who are in favor of tort reform because they say it costs too much are the same "citizens" who sit in the jury box.

    It is those same citizens who decide whether a doctor was negligent or not, and it's those same citizens who decide what the dollar amount of a guilty verdict will be.

    Oh, by the way, those very same, now, senior citizens who want tort reform are the very same people who will always get less money if they win their case... that is if the lawyer, who acknowledges there is negligence involved, even takes the case, because many times what an old person's damages are aren't worth taking the case.

    We already have tort reform:  It's called a jury.

    Now, if the insurance companies are robbing the doctors, that's another story.

    I guess I'm not the "essential element," either.

    by gooderservice on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:48:42 PM PDT

  •  Single Payer Government Malpractice Insurance nt (0+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 04:52:51 PM PDT

  •  Don't throw any bone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluegrass50, whaddaya

    These guys don't want compromise. Putting a tort reform will just complicate an already complex issue. Leave the bones out of it. Pass healthcare reform with public option, it is that simple.

  •  Bill Bradley of all people proposed this (0+ / 0-)

    today.  Problem is tort reform is a scam, a phony right wing talking point.

  •  Tort reform is a good idea (0+ / 0-)

    The trial lawyers would squeal with agony, but it would cut the price of malpractice insurance, and that would allow a reduction in the cost of medical care. Whether any of the cut would be passed on to patients or would just further line the pockets of doctors is another issue. But, a savings cannot be recovered until it exists.

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