Thursday, July 17, 2008

Post from the Center for American Progress

On my weekly search of wait related news articles I stumbled across an article from the Center for American Progress. The Center is a US based think tank. Included in their article entitled "Six Conservative Myths About Health Care" was the following line about malpractice claims;

"Myth: Medical malpractice lawsuits are little more than predatory lawyers destroying honest doctors; caps should be set on the amount awarded to accusers.
Truth: Although the malpractice system is deeply flawed, setting caps deflects attention from patient safety and would likely not reduce frivolous lawsuits or costly premiums.

....What increases occur in malpractice premiums can be linked primarily to a sluggish economy. In fact, malpractice costs represent less than 2 percent of total health care spending. There is little correlation between malpractice claim increases and premium increases."

I was simply going to blow past the article because it didn't relate to wait times but that line made me laugh. Rather than looking for a correlation between premiums and lawsuits look at malpractice premiums in comparable countries as well as frivolous tests. The cost from defensive medicine is massive and makes malpractice premiums pale in comparison. I'm not sure what the purpose of the think tank is but I don't agree with their assessment of the impact of malpractice on the cost of health care.

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