Medical Malpractice

I am really enjoying this Issues 2004 thing that Jeff got started. I may not agree with most of the comments on my blog (in fact I don’t), but I enjoy reading them and trying to understand the way others think about these issues.

I know its a diversion from most of what I’ve been blogging about for the past year, but we are in an election year and its a big one. So please be patient with this and I’ll be back to my regular beat shortly. After all, this whole blogging thing for me is a big experiment and I see Issues 2004 as a great experiment within an experiment.

So, that said, after reading the comments section, I realized that I had left out one of the points I wanted to make in my healthcare post. It was about Medical Malpractice.

As badly as I feel for the people who have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice or the people who have been maimed for life, I think the benefits to these people are significantly outweighed by the negative impact on the quality of care and the significant increase in the cost of care that results from medical malpractice.

I feel that we need to eliminate medical malpractice from our tort laws. It should not be possible to sue for bad medical practice. I believe in its place, we should have two new systems. The first is the ability to purchase medical malpractice insurance. If you are going into a serious medical procedure, you should have the option to purchase an insurance policy that pays out if you are killed or disabled. That may exist now for all I know. The second is a public rating system on doctors that includes risk weighted outcomes data. This rating system should establish billing rates for doctors. The better the doctor, the more they are paid. The worse they are, the less they are paid.

I know most people will think this is nuts. And I also realize that many of the right wingers who’ve been nailing me for my liberal views will think I’ve finally come around. But they are wrong about that. I am just interested in anything that will make good medical care available to everyone. And I think eliminating medical malpractice is an important part of that.