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Out Of Control Juries And Plaintiff's Attorneys


BigDave

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The other thread on high insurance spawned this.

Why are premiums high? Because doctors fee's are high.

What are doctors fee's high? To pay for insanely expensive malpractice insurance.

Why is malpractice insurance sky high? Because juries award multi-million dollar judgements against doctors who make mistakes.

News flash - doctors are not getting any better. And, they are human despite claims otherwise. If we and our jacka$$ friends want this cycle to continue, let's just keep filing lawsuits demanding millions of dollars because [insert Dr.'s name here] didn't [insert name of proceedure here that I really didn't need anyway].

You want lower insurance premiums? How about we reel in these juries and plaintiff's attorneys? We don't need a government to help us do that.

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What are doctors fee's high? To pay for insanely expensive malpractice insurance.

Only in part. Prices are also influenced by having to employ several workers per office solely to track down insurance claims. Insurance being the primary way that most people pay for healthcare, because they can't afford the insane rates out of their pocket. It may have started with malpractice, but you're also leaving out the cost of modern technology, the cost of all the extra tests that they now run to avoid even the thought of a malpractice suit (and face it, wouldn't you want all the tests run if you had the choice?), etc. All of those things make care more expensive, too. The health insurance piece is a feedback loop - the more expensive it gets to chase down the insurance money, the more expensive the care gets, the more people pay via insurance, the more people you need to track down insurance claims to get your money, the more expensive it gets to to chase down insurance money...

The insurance fat cats just love this stuff....

I agree with you about reigning in juries on these awards, etc - that stuff is just flat out stupid. If a doc acts in negligence, he needs to pay. I tend to doubt that covers most of the claims that people file for malpractice, though....

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Keep in mind this little insurance/doctor thing is a vicious circle. If docs would actually admit to a mistake instead of a "medically adverse event" supported by their huge hospital based loss prevention legal team, there may have never been as big of an industry bloodsucking lawyers witch hunting them.

It's kind of funny that all three entities in this mess (insurance, attorneys, and docs) created the dilemma due to their incessant greed and self rightousness.

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Doctoring is the only profession I know of the the US where the current union for the profession has governmentally delegated authority to decide how many people may be trained and licensed in that profession, and the specific goal is full employment for med school graduates. Think a med school can buy a few more corpses, hire a few more Professor/MDs and increase their graduating class by 10%? Not unless they get permission from the AMA.

It's also the only profession where they charge you more for NOT having insurance. Just try comparing the "walk in" price to the insurance contract "paid in full" price for any procedure. Imagine if an auto body shop told customers "if you pay me cash, I'll charge you 2 to 6 times the amount I would accept from an auto insurer."

As to malpractice - the big news item out here is in that area is about an MD who did a gall bladder removal and the operation was presumed to have gone well until the lab report on the removed organ came back "kidney." Ooops. The hospital is standing by the MD and will not identify him, and 5 of their surgeons have already placed an "it wasn't any of us" newspaper ad.

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You know, Shakespeare said "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (sorry, Genghis :D )... I vote we make the insurance fat cats second!! :D heh heh....

:)

Wasn't it Mark Twain that talked about a small town with a single lawyer? The lawyer did OK, but then another lawyer moved in, and they both got rich.

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You know, Shakespeare said "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (sorry, Genghis :D )... I vote we make the insurance fat cats second!! :D heh heh....

From what I understand back in old Will's time the word "lawyer" meant something else then it does today. I hear it meant "legislator". That does nothing to change my agreement with the plan.

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If this thread were anywhere but the "Hate" sub-forum, I'd explain all the ways we're being scammed by the medical/insurance community into thinking the problem is the civil justice system......but we are regularly reminded that the "Hate" column is not a place for counter-viewpoints, so I won't.

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I'd explain all the ways we're being scammed by the medical/insurance community into thinking the problem is the civil justice system

In part, that's what I was getting at :D

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If this thread were anywhere but the "Hate" sub-forum, I'd explain all the ways we're being scammed by the medical/insurance community into thinking the problem is the civil justice system......but we are regularly reminded that the "Hate" column is not a place for counter-viewpoints, so I won't.

Sam (and anyone else),

I hope you know I am not suggesting that my rant is the sole cause of the woes this country experiences in the medical insurance delima, only, perhaps, the most actionable in terms of personal responsibility. Corprate responsibility is another issue entirely.

I would not consider any comments you might offer as suggested above to be a rebuttal, rather an extension. So, feel free unless a mod deems otherwise.

Dave

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I found myself without insurance when my wife discovered that she had to have a hysterectomy due to cancer. I was flat broke but had just enough money to avoid being on the public dole. After negotiating with the hospital we ended up paying about the same amount as my buddy had to pay for his copay when his wife had a hysterectomy. Maybe the hospital took a loss. Maybe they didn't. I was glad they worked with me and am grateful that it all worked out well for us. I suspect, however, that if they did take a loss it wasn't much and that the "normal" price is inflated to meet the clients ability to pay. YMMV.

-ld

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The other thread on high insurance spawned this.

Why are premiums high? Because doctors fee's are high.

What are doctors fee's high? To pay for insanely expensive malpractice insurance.

Why is malpractice insurance sky high? Because juries award multi-million dollar judgements against doctors who make mistakes.

News flash - doctors are not getting any better. And, they are human despite claims otherwise. If we and our jacka$$ friends want this cycle to continue, let's just keep filing lawsuits demanding millions of dollars because [insert Dr.'s name here] didn't [insert name of proceedure here that I really didn't need anyway].

You want lower insurance premiums? How about we reel in these juries and plaintiff's attorneys? We don't need a government to help us do that.

Since this is the Hate Forum, I won't offer a counter-argument, but I will say that there is a serious lack of knowledge of:

a) How insurance companies really make their money (hint: it ain't off the premiums). If you figure this out and look for a correlation between a rise in insurance premiums and the stock market, you might be surprised.

B) The context in which a certain oft-repeated Shakespearean quote was stated. Doesn't really help the anti-lawyer cause. ;)

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I/we have no health insurance - have had none for 15 years now. Been in the same place as jhgtyre and had the same results. We regularly receive 20-35% off of our med bills by informing the Dr's and hospitals we have no insurance and that we will be paying in cash. I do think a large part of it (the discount) is that the hassle of squeezing/recovering/ collecting the $$$$$ from the insurance company is eliminated by the upfront cash payout.

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As to malpractice - the big news item out here is in that area is about an MD who did a gall bladder removal and the operation was presumed to have gone well until the lab report on the removed organ came back "kidney." Ooops. The hospital is standing by the MD and will not identify him, and 5 of their surgeons have already placed an "it wasn't any of us" newspaper ad.

An appropriate solution to that type of neglect would have the good doctor provide community service, to the local range, as a moving target :lol: .

I agree that something needs changing and in lieu of insurance companies paying huge awards, particularly on repeat offenders, the aberrant doctor should have his license revoked. If a doctor can't tell the difference between a gall bladder and a kidney then it is time for a new career. The sanctions should be appropriate, the greater the mistake, the greater the consequences and vice versa. By weeding out the incompetents, the overall quality of medical care increases and the number of law suits decrease with a corresponding drop in costs.

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I would not consider any comments you might offer as suggested above to be a rebuttal, rather an extension. So, feel free unless a mod deems otherwise.

Cool--thanks! :)

My basic point is that in most jurisdictions, the medical community has done an amazingly effective job at setting up an elaborate series of roadblocks to avoid taking responsibility for the errors they frequently commit. Because of the AMA's fantastic public relations campaign, juries tend to universally love physicians. Because of the great expense involved in taking on a negligent doctor in court, only a tiny fraction of the real mistakes that cause people real harm ever result in a lawsuit. Most victims have cases that have been rendered economically unviable, due to the cost of hiring the required medical experts, who almost invariably have to be retained and brought in from out of state. Of those cases that make it to trial, only a small fraction of them result in plaintiff's verdicts, and only a tiny fraction of those result in the giant million dollar verdicts that you occasionally read about in the paper. And most of those big verdicts are fully justified.

In reality, those "out of control juries" and "huge verdicts" are extraordinarily rare anomalies, statistical outlyers. And I'm no fan of greedy plaintiff's lawyers (and I sure do know a few of them!), but in this instance they have been made the scapegoat. It's even more unfair to blame juries--which in most parts of the country are made up of regular people like us who do their best to seek the truth and arrive at something that resembles justice.

You see, it's all gotten real political--it's now a blue-state/red-state kind of thing. And along the way, people have forgotten that in most parts of the country (there are certainly some exceptions) the civil justice system actually works very well about 99.99% of the time. But that's not what the pharmaceutical companies, or the insurance companies, or the AMA want us to think. In the name of "tort reform," they want the balance tipped even further in their favor that it is already tipped.

Or so it seems to me! (Sure sounds like a rebuttal, doesn't it Big Dave? :) Anyway, thanks for letting me jump in.)

Mike

I agree that something needs changing and in lieu of insurance companies paying huge awards, particularly on repeat offenders, the aberrant doctor should have his license revoked. If a doctor can't tell the difference between a gall bladder and a kidney then it is time for a new career. The sanctions should be appropriate, the greater the mistake, the greater the consequences and vice versa. By weeding out the incompetents, the overall quality of medical care increases and the number of law suits decrease with a corresponding drop in costs.

Excellent points. Unfortunately, that won't happen either unless someday we finally insist that the inmates quit running the asylum (i.e. get rid of the confidential internal medical peer review system that virtually eliminates evidence against incompetent doctors from ever seeing the light of day).

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It's kind of funny that all three entities in this mess (insurance, attorneys, and docs) created the dilemma due to their incessant greed and self rightousness.

Wow! the lack of personal responsibility is staggering! Guess the individuals who bring malpractice suits, fake or legit, are forced into it by the lawyers, huh? :lol:

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Wow! the lack of personal responsibility is staggering! Guess the individuals who bring malpractice suits, fake or legit, are forced into it by the lawyers, huh?

Bob,

I won't excuse blame wherever it belongs but you ever wonder why so many Doc's go to lawyer school????

The answer may lie in having two revenue streams........

Those personal injury lawyers don't find clients in the want ads. :D

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You know, Shakespeare said "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (sorry, Genghis :D )... I vote we make the insurance fat cats second!! :D heh heh....

From what I understand back in old Will's time the word "lawyer" meant something else then it does today. I hear it meant "legislator". That does nothing to change my agreement with the plan.

This is so funny since the real point of that part of the play is that the perpetrators wanted to eliminate justice and freedom. The only way to do that was to "first get rid of the lawyers"

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Excellent points. Unfortunately, that won't happen either unless someday we finally insist that the inmates quit running the asylum (i.e. get rid of the confidential internal medical peer review system that virtually eliminates evidence against incompetent doctors from ever seeing the light of day).

A few tidbit's I've learned from someone in the business:

1. If you are given the wrong medication - even one with serious adverse consequences - it will NOT be reported in your medical chart, and the hospital is NOT required to tell you.

2. If an "incident report" is filed related to an error in the care you receive, it is protected by law - neither you, your attorney, nor the discovery process may see it - and there is no requirement they even tell you if such a report was filed.

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I'm a doc. I have just edited out a long "rebuttal" to the "rebuttal". It's probably enough for me to say that I agree that the system is badly broken, in more than just a couple ways, but don't lay it all at the feet of the providers - the blame goes all around.

Kevin C

(gotta stop now - I found myself rewriting all my observations/objections/agreements/rebuttals) ;)

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