THE SOLUTIONS, PART 1, THE TRIAL LAWYERS

I have the answers.

OK, you may quit the eye-rolling. I stated at the outset this is one man’s opinion. But I put this forward for your consideration: How do the current approaches to the healthcare problem strike you? With all those brilliant minds churning, why do only myopic, incomplete, expensive and almost certainly ineffective solutions get paraded before you, when they’re not attempting to slip them under the radar “before Congress goes on break”? After the meltdown in the economy, it should be clearer than ever that a government bent on self-preservation can never see a clear path through the morass of special interests clouding its vision. It becomes progressively corrupted, and even those fresh minds that want to do the right thing have obstacles so tall they could spend a lifetime trying to scale; a lifetime during which their vision, inevitably, clouds too.

The problem of health care is complex and needs a comprehensive and equally nuanced set of solutions. Slashing costs here and there willy-nilly and injecting a larger dose of an overburdened, corrupt bureaucracy that is already running an insolvent health plan won’t cut it.

So, what to do? Well, my opinion is as good as the next person’s, and, if nothing else, will put a new spin on the debate. Let’s start with the trial lawyers.

People need the right of redress in the event of malpractice by the care provider or the system; on this we can all agree. Unfortunately, like government and health-care expenses in general, this has grown into a monster with tentacles. Let’s clip those tentacles by awarding medical expenses and capping “pain and suffering,” as is being done in California and some other states. Ten and twenty million dollar or larger awards only encourage a lottery mentality and drive malpractice premiums so high that costs and medical access suffer. The cap (above medical expenses) can be decided by better minds than mine (I hope), but I would think about $1-2 million should do it. The temptation to file frivolous lawsuits could be further reduced by an impartial body of experts from the medical and legal community; they could review complaints for a summary judgment on merit. In the event of denial the suit could still go forward, but with the stipulation that contingency fees would be disallowed, so the plaintiff would need to proceed at their own financial peril.

 

NEXT:  The Solutions, Part 2, The Government

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