On October 15, 2014, Reuters Health headlined online “Malpractice laws that favor doctors fail to cut health costs: study,” and National Public Radio broadcast similarly last week. This exposes as baseless the decades-long propaganda of healthcare/insurance interests to the contrary that is designed to stir public support for so-called “tort reform” unfair to American patients.
The revealing conclusion is from the RAND Corporation study that reviewed 3,800,000-plus Medicare records from 1,166 hospitals across Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina (which 3 states have passed anti-patient medical malpractice laws) and included neighboring states (which have not passed such Draconian laws). Moreover, the eye-opening RAND study has pedigree within the medical community: its chief author is an Emergency Room physician, and it is published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the preeminent peer-reviewed medical journal in the United States – indeed, in the world.
Reuters Health quoted the Rand/NEJM chief author/physician: in addition to not wanting to be sued, “doctors also don’t want to make mistakes,…don’t want to cause harm, [and] don’t want to say no to patients”. He concludes: “the legal system is a convenient scapegoat”!
Other healthcare/insurance defense propaganda calculated to manipulate public sentiment for would-be “tort reform” is that medical malpractice claims supposedly are responsible for spiraling healthcare costs and insurance premiums. In truth, healthcare costs of medical malpractice have been stable and documented at less than one-half of one-percent – with some of that cost attributable to scortched-earth litigation by medical malpractice defendants and their lawyers (who bill on a hourly basis for time spent).
Still more propaganda that healthcare/insurance interests use to alarm the general public unduly is the unsubstantiated battle-cry that medical malpractice has been causing doctors to flee their states. In truth, doctors remain rooted and even territorial: there is no mass exodus, and American doctors restrict foreign doctors who want to relocate to practice in the United States (with limiting the number of doctors contributing to U.S. doctors’ compensation remaining the highest among professions).