Focus on medical quality for everyone


  1. Huntley is a biochemistry professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Medical School. That may explain why he comes at this issue with a focus on medical quality for everyone -- not just on insuring the uninsured poor.
    "I've concluded that if you do something positive for the 93 percent (of Minnesotans who have health insurance), we'll be taking care of the 7 percent, too," he says.
    Abeler is a chiropractor whose Team Pawlenty jersey hangs in his office window. But his eye isn't on shrinking eligibility for "government health care," as Pawlenty's was in 2003 and 2005. He wants government to be a smarter buyer. "We can lead the way with our own state plans," he said. Those notions look as if they could bridge the big policy gulf between Berglin and Pawlenty. If Minnesota is going to make a major move this year to make health care better and more affordable, it's going to need just such a bridge.
    Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle can work together to build a better health care plan.
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 27, '07
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Shamira Aizza
    I wondered what kind of chiropractic care was being offered in countries that used socialized programs, so I took a look at our Canadian neighbor.

    Turns out that only 3 out of 13 provinces offers any kind of Chiropractic coverage, and only partial coverage at best, and the only way that Chiropractic coverage is expanding is with the increase of privatized care in Canada.

    I realize that these fellows are taking the ridiculous position of forcing everyone to purchase health insurance...there are people who CHOOSE not to, and that should be their perogative.

    I wonder if his party colleagues would agree on this for the rest of the nation, which boasts a matching uninsured population of 7%?

    They can build a better health plan, but they shouldn't force people to buy it if they don't want to. And I don't understand why they can't agree that reducing litigation will go miles in reducing cost.
  4. by   HM2VikingRN
    Everyone needs to be insured in one form or another. Choosing to not be insured is fine until that person is injured in an accident and the pool of responsible insureds ends up paying higher premiums etc. See below for a discussion about the real costs of Tort claims in health care.

    http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/bp157
    B. No evidence of significant effects on health care costs
    Even when it uses TTP's unverifiable and inflated calculation of malpractice costs, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the tort system contributes less than 2% to total health care spending and concludes that "even a reduction of 25 percent to 30 percent in malpractice costs would lower health care costs by only about 0.4 to 0.5 percent" (CBO 2004, 6). The entire $27 billion cost of medical malpractice claims that TTP estimates, including every legitimate claim that was settled without a trial and every claim proved in a court of law, amounts to only 1.6% of national health care expenditures.9
    Interestingly, paid malpractice claims against doctors and other medical professionals totaled only $4.6 billion in 2004, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Treaster and Brinkley 2005). TTP has found in the past that awards to plaintiffs are generally about 46% of total tort costs and that physicians' costs are about 58% of total malpractice costs.10 (TTP divides malpractice costs into three categories: "hospital, physician, and other.") Assuming that the past held true in 2004, then the $4.6 billion paid for malpractice claims against physicians in 2004 should represent 46% of the physicians' share of total medical malpractice tort costs, which in turn should be $10.0 billion. If $10.0 billion represents 58% (the physicians' share) of total malpractice costs, then total malpractice costs are $17.24 billion, not the $27 billion claimed by TTP. This represents less than 1% of national health expenditures in 2004, which grew to $1.78 trillion.
  5. by   Shamira Aizza
    Quote from HM2Viking
    Everyone needs to be insured in one form or another. Choosing to not be insured is fine until that person is injured in an accident and the pool of responsible insureds ends up paying higher premiums etc. See below for a discussion about the real costs of Tort claims in health care.

    http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/bp157
    That link is a bunch of horsecrap. They focus primarily on the exchange of money from a liable person to a recipient, wages, and only say that "there is no evidence of _____" again and again. They don't provide any proof for their speculations while denying any evidence exists to refute them.

    There are only two kinds of people who would say that litigation does not impact health care costs; the naive, and the lawyers.

    If you focus on payouts alone, you overlook the obvious; defensive practice (and this is exactly why socialized health care would be more of a disaster in the US than anywhere else it's been tried). You cannot say with any level of honesty that there isn't billions of dollars wasted on tests, interventions, and procedures simply because juries are impressionable, and physicians don't want to face them after they've been played by an attorney like Edwards who 'channeled' the dead spirit of babies who wouldn't have survived if Jesus himself delivered them.

    Defensive medical practice is often more than half of what we do, and it is one of the inflating factors of medical costs. Socialized countries don't allow the level of litigation that we do in the US, and if you can't believe that it contributes to the claimed lower cost of health care, then I'd like to know why. In this country, people sue for being refused access to EXPERIMENTAL drugs...drugs that are flat out not covered in places like Canada. And it makes no sense that a certain political party wants to transition to a socialized model, but protect the freewheeling litigation train that serves to make people like Edwards the richest man in his county...riding the backs of health care providers who have helped far more people than he would ever care to help.
  6. by   Altra
    [quote=Shamira Aizza;2118887]There are only two kinds of people who would say that litigation does not impact health care costs; the naive, and the lawyers.

    If you focus on payouts alone, you overlook the obvious; defensive practice (and this is exactly why socialized health care would be more of a disaster in the US than anywhere else it's been tried). You cannot say with any level of honesty that there isn't billions of dollars wasted on tests, interventions, and procedures simply because juries are impressionable, and physicians don't want to face them after they've been played by an attorney ...

    Defensive medical practice is often more than half of what we do, and it is one of the inflating factors of medical costs.[quote]

    :yeahthat:
  7. by   HM2VikingRN
    ranting and raving does nothing to solve a problem. i don't disagree with the point about defensive medicine. evidenced based practices are a defense against accusations of malpractice. the link was posted to point out that the impact of tort litigation is often overstated as to the costs of doing business in the us. one of the reasons that litigation has emerged as the mechanism of regulation of business is that our regulatory agencies are failing to do their jobs.
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20041025/zegart/6
    on the tort reform side, the numbers tell a story of squandered dollars. the $809 "tort tax" was invented by taking $233 billion, which is what insurance industry consultant tillinghast-towers perrin says is the cost of the tort system, and dividing it by the population of the united states. but those billions represent not only legal expenses but the total cost of running the insurance industry, including executive salaries, advertising expenditures and much else unrelated to lawsuits. the real figure is probably less than half that amount.
    the numbers game misses the point, because while the plaintiff's lawyer is indeed an american creation, billions would still have to be spent to compensate and care for victims even if the tort system were abolished. the legal systems of france, germany, japan, australia and other wealthy countries forbid most personal-injury actions, ban contingent fees and require the loser to pay the winner's expenses, making suits by individuals against corporations impossible. instead, national healthcare or other compensation schemes cover those hurt in any kind of accident. in japan, a special industry fund covers air-pollution victims; another pays for injuries caused by pharmaceuticals. "in some sense it's because of the thinness of our welfare state and the kind of fragmentation of authority in this country that we just do more with the civil courts," says marc galanter, a law professor at the university of wisconsin.
    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut?bid=7&pid=30844
    medical malpractice insurance is a perfect example. the insurance industry says it has to raise rates because it gets sued too much by greedy lawyers. but these charges fall flat in the face of bush justice department figures released this past summer which said that the number of tort cases resolved in us district courts fell by 79 percent between 1985 and 2003. the truth is that medical malpractice tort costs account for less than two percent of healthcare spending, according to the non-partisan congressional budget office. legal awards to patients is simply not where high health insurance costs are coming from. want to see lower insurance rates? regulate the industry.
    the central issue of the news article was that both sides of the aisle can work together to solve the problems of un and underinsured patients.

    and the central issue remains:
    focus on medical quality for everyone -- not just on insuring the uninsured poor.
    "i've concluded that if you do something positive for the 93 percent (of minnesotans who have health insurance), we'll be taking care of the 7 percent, too," he says.
    Last edit by HM2VikingRN on Mar 20, '07

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