Friday, May 28, 2021

Health care

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Margaret Fierro

Mrs. Herron

English 101

1 June 001

Custom writing service can write essays on Health care

Health care

Finding affordable malpractice insurance for many doctors is becoming a growing problem in the United States. Malpractice insurers are worried by a rise in malpractice awards by juries in their state. In turn, the insurers raise their premiums to a point where many doctors can’t afford it. Doctors are receiving malpractice bills that are twice as much than they were a couple of years ago. States with highest premiums are Florida, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. This crisis is concentrated in litigious states with generous juries and financially scared insurers. Some doctors try to protect themselves against possible lawsuits by ordering unnecessary tests, but that increases health costs. Approximately twenty states are showing signs of this crisis, twenty-four states are showing early symptoms of this crisis, and the rest are ok for now.

If this crisis gets worse, it could ultimately affect everybody because anybody could lose their doctor to this malpractice crisis. This crisis is concentrated only in certain states and certain specialties, but the problem is spreading. This situation forces many doctors to move to states where the premiums are more affordable, switch to more safer practices like dermatology and ophthalmology, or take the risk of practicing without insurance. Some veteran practitioners are just quitting altogether. As a result of losing their doctor to this crisis, many people are driving longer distances for a specific practice.

This problem definitely needs to be corrected, but there is no quick and easy solution available. Doctors feel that the main problems are judgments awarded for tragic but sometimes unavoidable outcomes. The insurers blame rate hike and policy cancellations on what they describe as a rising tide of lawsuits and one million dollar plus jury awards. Both doctors and patients are seeking malpractice reform from politicians. Many insurers and doctors feel that one solution to the crisis would be to put caps of $50,000 on non-economic damages awarded to pain and suffering. Republicans, whose campaigns are supported by doctors and insurance firms, endorse such legislation, and the House of Representatives has passed a bill along those lines. But plaintiff’s lawyers, who contribute heavily to the campaigns of Democrats, are lobbying their friends in the senate and reform may remain more of a rallying cry than a real prospect. Twice in the past two decades, Illinois state legislature has passed caps on non-economic jury awards only to have them struck down as unconstitutional by the state supreme court.

Critics blame the insurers rushing to make up for their losses in under priced premiums and poorly performing investments. An independent study by Weiss ratings shows that states with caps on malpractice damages have not enjoyed much relief in malpractice insurance premiums, but have instead seen insurers shore up profits.

Physicians deserve part of the blame too. â€Doctors,” says one doctor, â€haven’t sold themselves as a self policing group.” The vast majority of conscientious physicians have been forced to subsidize the higher insurance costs of a few incompetents. While the vast majority of doctors perform with care and lose few, if any, legal judgments or settlements, a small number of negligent or incompetent doctors endanger patients and drive up malpractice insurance costs for everyone. Doctors and hospitals too often fail to discipline repeat offenders. Hospitals are required to report to their state medical board any revocation, suspension or restriction of a doctors clinical privileges for more than thirty days. Hospitals face many incentives not to report a disciplined doctor and not to discipline him at all. A hospital may want to limit its liability by not airing the problem. Or it may be afraid of a legal battle with the physician.

American health care is getting out of control and the malpractice insurance issue is a mess. Reform is going nowhere. How do we fix all this? Caps on damages would limit non-economic jury awards for such injuries as pain and suffering. But Democrats, backed by trial lawyers, are blocking passage in the senate, claiming it would adversely affect victims who don’t work. Limiting lawyer fees would cap how much of a settlement or jury verdict attorneys can collect. Such a restriction would deter frivolous suits. Medical screening would raise the bar for gaining approval to go forward with a suit. Physicians say better screening would help weed out bogus claims. Whistle blowing would make it easier for a doctor to report a colleagues malpractice, but because they fear being sued or scrutinized themselves, many doctors are unwilling to speak up. Medical standards would measure a doctor’s performance against a statistical norm. This could rationalize malpractice premiums, which are based on a doctor’s specialty and location rather than objectively on performance.

In â€The Doctor Won’t See You Now.” Eisenberg, Daniel, et al. Time, 00 (pg. 46) writes about how this crisis is a problem for physicians and more of a problem for patients who search distances to find a new doctor. The crisis is just disrupting lives of many doctors and patients. This malpractice issue is a complex one as you try to analyze it. The crisis has not yet hit California, however, we all need to be aware that it is spreading and it affects everybody. Hopefully for everybody’s sake, a solution will come in the near future.

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