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I would like to comment on the Oct. 25-31 letter “Lawsuits drive up healthcare costs” by Thomas B. Stebbins.
The question to be asked is: Why are liability costs so high? There are multiple reasons. Among them is the money that can be gotten from the medical field for malpractice injuries. The amounts awarded to people who have been injured can be astronomical. This is because included in the liability is the possible lifetime costs for medical care. For some of the serious ones, the costs could be in the millions of dollars. Then there is the cost of litigating the cases. Attorneys get a large portion of awards.
The next question is: How do we reduce those costs? One need is “socialized medicine.” If people were covered from cradle to the grave with single-payer medical coverage, there would not be those enormous payments for potential medical costs. And, with the reduction in the payment to attorneys, the awards would not be as huge. Basically, it would only be for economic losses, pain and suffering.
Another cost is caused by the settlement of cases out of court. There is often attached to them a secret non-disclosure clause, which contains no admission of malpractice.
This does two things: It maybe gets a smaller settlement, but it allows a possibly negligent doctor to continue on in ways that could happen again. Since there is no “record,” there is nothing to let a potential patient be aware of the possible malpractice. This should be addressed by not allowing secret non-disclosure settlements.
Then there are the “frivolous lawsuits.” There should be some sort of panel of experts who can judge if the case is warranted. There should be a standard of conduct and care that would absolve a doctor or hospital from these lawsuits.
Now I would like to comment on the statistics quoted by Stebbins. He combines “... frivolous or of uncertain merit” in a single category, and states that they are more than half of the lawsuits. I would like to know what the individual numbers are.
Stebbins does not offer answers. Since he seems to be the executive director of a lobbying group, why should we listen to him? How do we even know the general welfare is his main objective?
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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