Watch this…amusing…informative…interesting. I laughed ’till I cried, but not for the usual reasons.
Okay, so yesterday I posted a criminally long post on the proposed healthcare “reform” and its still (obviously) very much on my mind. I’m getting to be like a junkie…needing my next fix of info on this. At the grocery store today it was all I could do to stop myself from engaging perfect strangers in discussion about this….
I am really afraid for my kids and their future.There is only so much financial irresponsibility that this country can bear.
If hubby and I had a massive, crushing debt (comparable to this nation’s trillions of dollars of debt) and we decided to take on new, massive financial responsibilities (comparable to this nation insuring everyone) …no matter how noble our intentions, say adopting a gaggle of needy kids, and we did so without any inkling of how to get out of that original massive debt, and without changing a single spending habit (no reform of medicare/medicaid or social security)…we’d be the most irresponsible jerks, doing no favors for ourselves, our kids, or our newly adopted gaggle. Does that make sense?
Furthermore, I’m really irritated with this state fair huckster “buy it now, don’t wait, the price is gonna go up, I might run out of stock, I have another interested party” salesman routine that Obama is shouting from the White House roof. That sales technique has never worked on me, and I hope that hubby and I have taught our children not to fall for it. When I was a salesperson, I am proud to say that I never resorted to that tactic.
Really, is it our responsibility to provide universal healthcare? Why? It wasn’t 100 years ago, why is it now? Couldn’t the argument be turned around to say that it is every citizen’s responsibility to take care of themself, and to work hard to provide health care for themselves. What will it be our responsibility to provide next? Food and Shelter are even more basic needs and “rights” than Health care… will we have to provide that for everyone next? How will we pay for that? This Robin Hood Health Care Plan will have broken the backs of the “rich.”
I know there are lots of unfair practices, uneven delivery systems…I know things need fixing. I just don’t think we have to overhaul the whole system to do it.
This is an example of the people Obama & Co. should be turning to, learning from, and handing over the reigns of “reform” to. I know several people “in the trenches” of the medical field who all echo these same sentiments… that certainly there is room for reform and improvement…but none of the issues brought up by this Doc are going to be addressed by Obama care effectively…well, the charities will cease to exist. The abuse will only get worse, and the beureaucratic crap will only get deeper.
I am a physician and I want my bias to be up front. I think the health care system needs fixing but the heart of this sticky debate is “Are we responsible for those who do not or cannot take responsibility for themselves?” I see many patients who work hard and do not make enough money to cover all of their medical expenses; they usually find some way (charitable organizations, medicare/medicaid, hospital “free care”) to get the care they need. I have never personally turned away a patient nor have I seen the hospital I work for turn away a patient because of inability to pay, and I am proud of that. HOWEVER, I cannot tell you how many people I see abuse the system. Patients coming in on medicaid (you and I pay for their treatment) with clothes, cars, and cell phones nicer than mine. I also see well-to-do suburban yuppies driving BMWs who do not have health insurance because “they don’t need it.” Until something happens, but when they DO need healhtcare a public cry goes up that “It’s too expensive!” There ARE places to trim the fat in healthcare. Defensive medicine due to malpractice concerns would be my number one choice (again, I admit my bias). Second would be aggressively promoting living wills/advanced directives so that those who do not desire to have their lives prolonged with desparate measures are saved the suffering and indignity in the intensive care unit. Third would be REDUCING (not INCREASING) the administrative costs of healthcare. Every year, more and more government regulations on healthcare delivery require more and more documentation. The hospital I work for has nurses who are hired to do nothing but check charts. They look at the progress notes I write every day to correct them. And when I say correct I do not mean correct a medical error, but an administrative one. If I say a patient has a low hematocrit and I am ordering a unit of blood for transfusion, they flag it and ask me to correct it to say the patient has “anemia.” You see, medicare reimburses for blood transfused for “anemia” but not for “low hematocrit.” (They’re different words for the same thing.) So, when you complain how expensive healthcare is realize that part of your healthcare dollar (insurance premium, taxes, etc) goes to pay these administrators WHO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH HELPING PATIENTS. The ONLY thing they do is help the hospital and doctors jump through the hoops medicare sets up to get paid. Realize this: Universal healthcare = more hoops = more money spent on healthcare NOT ACTUALLY RELATED TO PATIENT CARE. A solution is needed but I am not convinced that a single payer system is it. My two cents.
A Really LONG blog post that will hopefully help me make sense of things…
This editorial from Investor’s Business Daily kept me awake last night… wondering and worrying for my kids and their future.
It’s Not An Option
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 4:20 PM PT
Congress: It didn’t take long to run into an “uh-oh” moment when reading the House’s “health care for all Americans” bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.
When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.
It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,” the “Limitation On New Enrollment” section of the bill clearly states:
“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.
So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.
From the beginning, opponents of the public option plan have warned that if the government gets into the business of offering subsidized health insurance coverage, the private insurance market will wither. Drawn by a public option that will be 30% to 40% cheaper than their current premiums because taxpayers will be funding it, employers will gladly scrap their private plans and go with Washington’s coverage.
The nonpartisan Lewin Group estimated in April that 120 million or more Americans could lose their group coverage at work and end up in such a program. That would leave private carriers with 50 million or fewer customers. This could cause the market to, as Lewin Vice President John Sheils put it, “fizzle out altogether.”
What wasn’t known until now is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law.
The legislation is also likely to finish off health savings accounts, a goal that Democrats have had for years. They want to crush that alternative because nothing gives individuals more control over their medical care, and the government less, than HSAs.
With HSAs out of the way, a key obstacle to the left’s expansion of the welfare state will be removed.
The public option won’t be an option for many, but rather a mandate for buying government care. A free people should be outraged at this advance of soft tyranny.
Washington does not have the constitutional or moral authority to outlaw private markets in which parties voluntarily participate. It shouldn’t be killing business opportunities, or limiting choices, or legislating major changes in Americans’ lives.
It took just 16 pages of reading to find this naked attempt by the political powers to increase their reach. It’s scary to think how many more breaches of liberty we’ll come across in the final 1,002
What kind of country are we passing on to our kids? If this thing passes, my kids will NEVER have an employer who can ever offer them anything but the public “option.” How is that an option?
There are no options in this scenario. Businesses, and unions are being dictated to…”this is the one and only Health Care “option” you may offer your new employees, if you do not you will pay stiff fines.” Individual citizens are being dictated to “You must accept the health care “option” offered by your new employer, or you will pay stiff fines.” This is dictatorship, not democracy. Either way, powerful government entities are dictating where American business’ and citizen’s money goes, and stopping both groups from having the ability to explore any other option, while killing off an entire industry (4145 separate entities with an annual revenue of $356,575,822 and annual payroll of $22,745,803) and putting at least 456,529 of Americans out of work. (Another question just occurred to me. Will Sasha and Malia be in the same situation as my kids, who are roughly the same age, or will they be grandfathered in, for life, to some special policy?)
Going back to the beginning…according tho an enlightening article on the history of Health Insurance at NeuroSurgical.com
Wartime (1939-1945) wage freezes imposed by the government actually accelerated the spread of group health care. Unable by law to attract workers by paying more, employers instead improved their benefit packages, adding health care.
Health care insurance gained widespread popularity as a benefit offered by employers to overcome Government Interference in the free market. Health Insurance is, in essence, the illegitimate child born of the free market being molested by the Government.
I understand that in times of war a Government has to impose unusual and temporary sacrifices on its citizens. I also understand that the “free market” response to those restrictions was to find a creative loophole…a way to legally circumnavigate the restrictions in order to protect the health of businesses, to attract the best and brightest employees by offering an “extra.” (Keeping in mind that during the war almost every person and every business was in one way or another supporting the war effort. It was your patriotic duty to go to work to help our country, and businesses worked hard to churn out quality products that were used by our country to defeat dictatorships overseas.)
Health care insurance was an “Extra,” something that, up to that relatively recent point in time, most Americans didn’t have, or need. My Grandmother, who passed away in 2005 at age 95, probably never even heard of health insurance, and certainly as the daughter of Italian immigrant farmers, never had health insurance, until she was 30 years old or, likely, older (and proudly working in a factory building fighter planes for our troops.) So, in two generations of my family, Health Insurance has gone from an “extra” dangled by business in the noose of government regulation to attract qualified workers, to a right that all should benefit from? In less than 100 years Health Insurance has mutated from being a way to skirt government regulation to becoming a government regulation? I have to wonder, if those employers had decided to offer some other enticement, free groceries or rent free homes, or fairy dust, would we now be where we are…would the noose be tightening like it is, or would it be a different noose? Would we all be in a “crises” of needing to offer free food or free shelter to everyone in our country? I also wonder what Grandma would say about all this if she was here.
Then I woke up and read my copy of The Buffalo Skews (oops, I meant News) and read this…my blood pressure is up, quick call the government…err I mean my Dr. Maybe my health would be better protected if I stopped reading it, but it’s my only newspaper “option” here in Western New York, so I’m sort of stuck.
This is the time to find a way to repair an unsustainable systemJuly 17, 2009, 6:58 AM /
It may be too much to say that anything would be an improvement, but health care as it exists in this country is a dysfunctional mess. As plans take shape to reform it and critics begin to pick them apart—and all will contain flaws —it will be important to remember this foundational fact: The status quo is killing us.
The nation needs to find something better—something that will offer all Americans health care while reducing the unsustainable growth in costs. That is the process now under way in Washington, one that President Obama wants to see completed this year. The deadline is tight, but given the nature of American politics, understandable.
The problems with health care are well documented. Millions lack insurance. Their employers may not offer it or they may have lost their jobs, possibly because they were ill. Costs are escalating to the point that before long $20 of every $100 will be spent on health care—far more than any other Western country. Medical costs are the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States. And for all that, our outcomes are generally mediocre.
Meanwhile, Americans live as though there were no consequences to abusing their bodies. Too many of us are obese, eating too much that is bad for us. We don’t exercise. We bring on ill health, further raising the public costs of medical care. It can’t go on. We are driving ourselves to an early grave with a brief stop at the poorhouse.
Americans voted overwhelmingly for Democrats last year in part because of worries about health care. Obama and congressional leaders are pushing hard for a bill that makes good on their pledge. In just the past week, the Senate health committee approved a $600 billion bill to expand health care, and House Democrats announced a $1.5 trillion plan that would cover 37 million Americans over the next decade in part by imposing a new tax on the 2.1 million wealthiest Americans. Both are good starts. Both need debate.
Some arguments against reforming health care are disingenuous. Some, for example, claim that federal involvement will lead to rationing of health care. But health care is rationed now. Millions go without it because they have no insurance. Why don’t the critics mention that?
Other objections are more serious and deserve attention. Costs of comprehensive reform begin at around $1 trillion over 10 years. That’s a huge amount of money, but the price tag needs to be measured against the costs of inaction— which carries its own huge price by leading to more expensive public and private health care costs down the road— and other options.
One thing is certain: What we are doing now isn’t working and changing it won’t be free. This is the time to fix this problem. Democrats are the only ones interested in doing it, and now is when they have the power to act.
To be sure, Democrats need to expand their approach. In particular, they need to show some enthusiasm for restraining the peculiarly American lawsuit culture that is driving medical malpractice rates through the roof and doctors out of business. Other countries, including Canada and Great Britain, that better control malpractice litigation have fewer problems with escalating costs and fleeing physicians.
This is the most significant domestic matter that Congress has taken up in years. Representatives need to treat it carefully and respectfully, but with a clear understanding of the need and the opportunity. It’s time to act.
What is a Mom to think? Margaret Sullivan, Editor of the Buffalo News, (apparently) wrote the above piece, offering very little to back up her assertions. So I go in search of FACTS that will support or refute her statements. (Alright, my bias is obvious…I’m looking to refute her statements.)
In searching for FACTS on how many are uninsured in this country I found this from the Employment Policies Institute
Who are the Uninsured? An Analysis of America’s Uninsured Population, Their Characteristics and Their Health
This study shows that a large fraction of the uninsured could likely afford health coverage. In addition, it shows that the involuntarily uninsured are demonstrably different from the privately insured. Finally, the authors show that while the uninsured use fewer health services, they still receive a large amount of care, and there is little discernable difference in mortality based on insurance status.
So is the status quo killing us? According to EPI research, it is not. This leaves the “foundational fact” of this editorial in question, at best.
The true number of uninsured Americans is in question…with both sides of the debate inflating and deflating the numbers according to what is convenient to their argument. The editorial states that we need to offer all Americans coverage…but one of the major questions raised by the number of uninsured in this country is, how many of them are Americans? Is it a non-citizen’s right to Health coverage in this country just because they happen to be living here, legally or not? What if I let my neighbor move in to my house or was bullied into it…is it my moral duty to feed and clothe them, too?
Not only is it imperative that we insure all Americans, according to this editorial, we must do so “…while reducing the unsustainable growth in costs.”
Insure more people, while lowering the cost to do so. Hmmmm. If I have three more babies, bringing us to a total of six (not gonna happen, this is just me thinking out loud…) then I have a moral obligation to feed all six children. If I spend an average of $30 per person on groceries per week right now (I do) and my family increases by three, either my grocery budget needs to increase by $90 (thus our income needs to get somehow bigger,) or my per person expenditure has to go down to $16.66 per person..which means bye-bye 90% lean hamburger, hello 30% fat hamburger…bye-bye coffee for Mom and Dad so Jr. can have milk, bye-bye dog, we can’t afford to feed you, too, Hello WIC (and the government telling me exactly what kind of cereal and juice I can buy) and food stamps and government peanut butter and cheese (oh so appetizing.) In the end, we either have to find a way to get more money (taxes) or a way to deacrease costs (lower quantity and quality) or do a little of both. That is what this editorial is asking for…higher taxes, less healthcare.
I need to examine why health care costs are so high. From The Commonwealth Fund at http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/Issue%20Brief/2004/Nov/Whats%20Driving%20Health%20Care%20Costs/Keenan_whatsdrivingcosts_cong2004_707%20pdf.pdf I found this…
“Long-Term Spending Growth
Economists agree that the main reason for higher spending over several decades is the advance in medical capabilities. A key study concluded that technological change accounts for at least 50 percent of the increase in health care spending between 1940 and 1990, while population aging, increases in health insurance coverage, rising income, increases in physician supply and physician-induced demand,
growth of defensive medicine, rising administrative costs or costs for care of the terminally ill, and lower productivity explain less than 25 to 50 percent of the rise in medical care spending over this period.3 Some economists suggest that the relative similarity in rates of spending growth across countries with vastly different health care systems, shown in Figure 1, provides further support that technological change, common across countries, drives spending increases.4″
This seems logical. After all, in 1939 my 30 year old Grandma would have thought x-rays the height of medical technology. In 1940, the average American could expect to live to be 62.9 years old. In 2005 the average American could expect to live to be 77.8. Could it be that the advances in medical technology had something to do with the almost 15 year increase in life expectancy? An article by Robert E. Harbaugh, MD FACS at http://www.aans.org/library/Article.aspx?ArticleId=10562 The American Associationof Neurological Surgeons website, seems to support the fact that improving technology is a huge factor in increased costs.
“According to G.J. Schieber, “Health care costs have increased steadily over the past 30 years in all developed countries.” Whatever is driving the increase in health care spending in the United States is also at work in the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Germany, France and Canada. The systems in place for training and reimbursing physicians, adjudicating claims of medical malpractice and financing hospital care are widely divergent among these countries; the introduction of new technology has affected them all.”
If increased technology accounts for somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of increased healthcare costs does that mean we need the government to put a stop to increased medical technology? How exactly would that happen? Limits and regulations on innovations? Maybe GM could start building MRI and CAT Scan machines? Or maybe they can just ration who is worthy of the technology? Newspaper Editors are non-essential (to America) unless they are writing pro-government editorials…maybe they can base the rationing on that?
We need the government to help us contain these “unsustainable costs,” when it was the government who, through unintended consequences of it’s actions, is largely responsible for them? In searching for more information on rising health care costs I came across this at www.american.com/archive/2009/may-2009/what-is-driving-rising-healthcare-costs
“Thus government regulation had the unintended consequence of giving rise to the current system of employer-provided health benefits. In the mid-1960s, President Johnson’s “Great Society” gave us Medicare and Medicaid, which insured millions of senior citizens and in the process drove up the cost of medical care due in part to the third-party payment problems.”
The editorially goes on to say “That is the process now under way in Washington, one that President Obama wants to see completed this year. The deadline is tight, but given the nature of American politics, understandable.” As an American who happens to find the current system mildly to moderately ill, not terminal, I have a real problem with the future of my health care and my financial well being, and even more so my children’s future, decided upon in a huge rush, following the “nature of American politics.” The very last standard I want held to the health care of my children is politics as usual in present day America. You might as well say you want to compromise on my kids health, subvert their individual concerns to those of special interest groups, and allow exceptions and make promises to other people’s kids because their parents happen to be big contributors.
Our current economy, logically is adding to the ranks of those unwillingly uninsured, but if our government focused on helping our economy in effective and meaningful ways that would likely be improved without a 1000+ page bill that opts us all out of our options. In fact, if our economy was on the upswing, quality health insurance would once again become the carrot that business would dangle to attract the best and the brightest in every field. In a Free Market Economy, wouldn’t that naturally force more employers to seek higher quality, lower cost insurance for more employees in order to be competitive and attractive?
“And for all that, our outcomes are generally mediocre.” Ms. Sullivan obviously hasn’t read this http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649.
Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians
Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries
Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians
Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians
Fact No. 6: Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.
Fact No. 7: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.
Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians
Fact No. 9: Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K.
Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations
“Meanwhile, Americans live as though there were no consequences to abusing their bodies.”
OK…we aren’t supposed to be personally responsible for our own health care costs or coverage, but we are supposed to be personally responsible for leading a healthy lifestyle? Why? There are tolerable, at worst, economic consequences (and it is ALWAYS about the Benjamen’s) to obesity, overeating, inactivity, smoking and drinking because most Americans are insured, or rely on the government safety net of Medicare/Medicaid if they do become ill as a result of their own poor behavior. I, personally, have not seen a bill for medical services in years. I may bitch about “high” co-pays, but for the most part, I haven’t a clue what our insurance company pays for our routine visits and ills.
From Dustin Chambers, assistant professor of economics at the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, we find this….
“The drivers of high healthcare costs are manifold, and include the perverse incentives associated with an insurance-based payment system” He goes on to say “Health insurance should not cover basic or routine medical services, but instead should cover major illnesses, surgeries, etc. Moreover, the government should require that healthcare providers charge all patients the same fees for out-of-pocket medical procedures (insurance companies and the government should be free to negotiate discounted prices for the services for which they directly pay, but these preferred rates would not apply to the services paid out-of-pocket by their members). This would bring normal, competitive market forces to bear on the provision of routine medical services. Insurance would then provide (as it is properly intended) coverage against significant and expensive maladies. This helps the poor in two ways. First, routine services would be much cheaper, and so the poor and uninsured would be able to afford (out-of-pocket) basic services. Second, the price of catastrophic medical insurance would be within reach of many more Americans. While high-deductible insurance plans already exist (in which the insured pays the first $1,500 to $2,000 in medical expenses and the insurer pays everything above this amount), what is really needed is for Medicare and Medicaid along with most employer-provided plans to adopt this high-deductible model. Although the current system epitomizes the overuse or misuse of insurance, the Obama plan fails to recognize this, and instead seeks to expand the size and scope of this distorted system.”
This is a bitter pill to take (pun intended) but it makes perfect sense economically and concerning healthy choices. While Mr. Chambers is addressing cost, another of this editorial’s concerns, it can easily be linked to American lack of concern over leading a healthy lifestyle. So what? Another soda or beer and slice and a day of couch sitting doesn’t matter, because going to the Dr. doesn’t cost me anything (that I see.) Furthermore, one could argue that Mr. Chambers argument could also support the argument that the currently proposed “universal” health coverage would only encourage people to pay even less attention to their personal responsibility to remain healthy.
“Americans voted overwhelmingly for Democrats last year in part because of worries about health care.”
If Obama’s victory over McCain is indicative of the “overwhelming” vote for Democrats (and their healthcare agenda) last year, then we need to define overwhelming. A 6% difference, while clear, is not overwhelming, or a landslide. The greatest popular vote landslide in US. History had a 26% gap… puts 6% into a different perspective.
- 1920 – the greatest percentage point margin in the popular vote (Harding 60.3% to Cox 34.1%).
- 1936 – the greatest electoral votes difference between winner and opponent (Roosevelt 523 to Landon 8).
- 1964 – the highest percentage for winner (Lyndon Johnson 61.1%).
- 1984 – the highest number of electoral votes (Reagan 525).
Furthermore a google search for reasons to vote for Obama turned up a multitude of hits. Out of 10 I surveyed, only 3 even mentioned healthcare, one to slam McCain’s as raising taxes too high, and one simply referencing Senator Obama’s positive votes on Health Care issues while serving in Congress . So much for the landslide victory indicative of a mandate to change healthcare.
The Buffalo News editorial states “Costs of comprehensive reform begin at around $1 trillion over 10 years. That’s a huge amount of money, but the price tag needs to be measured against the costs of inaction— which carries its own huge price by leading to more expensive public and private health care costs down the road— and other options.”
Huh? How much is a trillion dollars? (Other articles in the same edition of the same paper put the cost at 1.5 trillion dollars. Understating much?) According to U.S. News and World Report the Median Household income in 2007 was $50,233. So, if my math is right, it will take the total yearly household incomes of 20,000 American families, at least, to pay for this. And let’s face it, nothing is ever as cheap as you think its going to be. Its true for every household and business and its especially true of government. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, the cost is never overestimated, it is always underestimated.
What are the costs of “inaction?” Can we quantify that in any way? Will the strung out drug user be refused care at the emergency room and die, at a huge cost of potential to the American people, if we don’t immediately enact sweeping “comprehensive reform?” What the heck does “-and other options” mean? Yes we need to make changes, yes they will one way or another cost us. But don’t hide behind this nebulous, unquantifiable insinuation that the cost will be even bigger than $1 trillion+!
“One thing is certain: What we are doing now isn’t working and changing it won’t be free. This is the time to fix this problem. Democrats are the only ones interested in doing it, and now is when they have the power to act.”
What we’re doing now isn’t working…perfectly. No system ever will. There will always be mistakes and inequalities and problems. But will this “cure” kill the patient? Changing it won’t be free, but does it have to cost over a trillion $, on the backs of hard working Americans who are likely to lose control and quality of care in the bargain? This is the time to fix the problem…apparently Hillary care was ahead of its time…
“Democrats are the only ones interested in doing it”
From The Huffington Post: By Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma:
“In fact, I have introduced comprehensive health care legislation, the “Patients’ Choice Act” along with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Devin Nunes (R-CA).”
Looks like the editor is caught in a bit of misinformation here. The Democrats may have the only plan she favors (has she read all 1000+ pages of it, I wonder?) but the Republicans do have a plan that they have introduced. Not that that will get them anywhere, as our beloved editor points out…the Democrats have the power right now.
“To be sure, Democrats need to expand their approach. In particular, they need to show some enthusiasm for restraining the peculiarly American lawsuit culture that is driving medical malpractice rates through the roof and doctors out of business.”
In Canada, while there are no caps specifically targeted at medical malpractice claims, the Supreme Court of Canada has created a cap that applies to all serious personal injury claims.
Since most people who contact me for medical malpractice claims have suffered catastrophic injuries, the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling effectively caps the amount of compensation they are entitled to receive.
Supreme Court Caps Claims
In 1978 in a landmark case known as Teno v. Arnold the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that no matter how seriously injured you are the maximum amount for compensation you can receive for non-pecuniary damages (what is commonly referred to as “pain and suffering”) is $100,000.00.
Cap Supposed to Lower Insurance Rates
The reasoning behind the cap was primarily to prevent insurance rates from skyrocketing and becoming unaffordable for consumers. Unfortunately there was little evidence before the court that insurance rates would be effected by a compensation cap.
Taking inflation into account the amount capped on pain and suffering is currently considered to be slightly more than $300,000.00. But that maximum amount is only paid to the most catastrophically injured victims, persons who suffered quadriplegia, severe brain damage and similar injuries.
Victims Often Don’t Get Full Award
Even plaintiffs that receive awards that seem large often never see the amount decided by the judge or jury. Many personal injury compensation awards are dramatically reduced on appeal. These reduced or reversed judgments are almost never reported by the media.
But doctors in Canada are not insured by for profit insurance companies like in the United States. In Canada malpractice coverage is provided by a non-profit defence fund called the Canadian Medical Protective Association. Consumers don’t pay for this insurance, so rising rates are not an issue.
Given the enormous costs of pursuing a medical malpractice claim, the Supreme Court of Canada’s cap on compensation presents a real barrier to fair recovery for innocent victims of medical malpractice.
Is It fair?
What do you think? Is it fair that compensation for malpractice victims is capped? When a patient is injured as a result of a doctor’s negligence is it fair that the victim’s compensation is capped so that the doctor may have lower insurance premiums?”
No wonder the Dems aren’t showing “some enthusiasm for restraining the peculiarly American lawsuit culture,” in her shortsighted rush to appear objective the editor misses the fact that the reform currently proposed is likely to throw the U.S. into a system very similar to Canada’s, thus negating the need for concern about Medical Malpractice. Eventually, when a Doctor negligently destroys a U.S. citizen’s ability to earn an income, the harmed patient will be faced with the daunting costs of expensive litigation with the promise of little or no ability to collect a fair settlement.
This is the most significant domestic matter that Congress has taken up in years. Representatives need to treat it carefully and respectfully, but with a clear understanding of the need and the opportunity. It’s time to act.
Consequences be damned…my kids be damned! Hurry, Hurry, Hurry! Don’t let an examination of the facts get in your way…don’t let what it will do to the next generations of our citizens get in your way…just do something! Anything….Arggghhhhhhh
By the way, cancel my subscription.
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