I just go all giddy when I see Democrats talking coherently about important issues and using intelligent and thoughtful arguments to back up what they are saying. It is undeniably refreshing, especially when those intelligent and thoughtful arguments fly in the face of one of the best selling right wing myths of our time: bad medicine.
The Republican answer to runaway health-care spending is to cap jury awards in medical malpractice suits. For the fifth time in four years, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tried and failed to cap awards at $250,000 during his self-proclaimed "Health Care Week" in May. But this time, the Democrats put a better idea on the table.Oh my gosh, finally some coherency. This is common sense selling against fantasy, and I am so glad to see it on the national stage, I could do a victory lap around my office.
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also want to save on health care. But rather than capping jury awards, they hope to cut the number of medical malpractice cases by reducing medical errors, as they explain in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. In other words, to the Republicans, suits and payouts are the ill. To the Democrats, the problem is a slew of medical injuries of which the suits are a symptom. The latest evidence shows the Democrats' diagnosis to be right.
emphasis gleefully added by the Management - HR
Democrats: Making Patient Safety the Centerpiece.
Republicans: more worried about the Doctor's paycheck than the patient's safety.
What makes this really work? The bold, fat, provable reality on the ground:
including legal fees, insurance costs, and payouts, the cost of the suits comes to less than one-half of 1 percent of health-care spending. If anything, there are fewer lawsuits than would be expected, and far more injuries than we usually imagine.When's the last time you saw a doctor driving anything less than a Mercedes? There ain't no shortage of medical school students taking out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans. Why would anyone do that if the only result is increased liability and personal risk? The answer is quite simple: doctors make serious cash.
With great reward comes great responsibility. The biggest? Do your job correctly! Read further:
Anesthesiologists used to get hit with the most malpractice lawsuits and some of the highest insurance premiums. Then in the late 1980s, the American Society of Anesthesiologists launched a project to analyze every claim ever brought against its members and develop new ways to reduce medical error. By 2002, the specialty had one of the highest safety ratings in the profession, and its average insurance premium plummeted to its 1985 level, bucking nationwide trends.So, there's a link to better service, safer medical practices and lower costs across the board? Sweet. I love it when good policy and good politics go hand in hand.
And I am overjoyed that it is the Democrats on the right side of this one.