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Author Topic: medical malpractice caps  (Read 7392 times)
CARLHAYDEN
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« on: May 15, 2004, 09:29:25 pm »
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My state has recently suffered from soaring medical malpractice insurance which in turn is causing many doctors to give up their practice or move.

A few years ago, California and Texas implemented medical malpractice limits which resulted in lower medical malpractice insurance and continued medical care.

Should the country as a whole adopt such limits?

I strongly suspect that Kerry (a lawyer) would oppose such a proposal, and Bush would support it.

If such a proposal were a factor in the 2004 Presidential election, how would it play out>
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StatesRights
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2004, 11:31:03 pm »
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Well I don't kow if you are in Florida but we have that here. Or trying to be passed. They are trying to put a Three Strike Law for Doctors on the ballot here. If a doctor commits malpractice more then 3 times within three years he loses his liscense permanently. I signed the petition. Wink I didn't sign to stop the bullet train though. Smiley
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CARLHAYDEN
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2004, 11:39:46 pm »
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The docs are pretty unsophisticated and uninvolved in politics in this state so they've gotten run over by the shysters.

If they docs gear up on this one and go for a ballot initiative, they'll be the ones to roll over the ambulance chasers.

A petition in every doctor's office with a phamplet explaining the cost of medical malpractice insurance would be real effective.

Since the Board of Medical Examiners in my state got their act together a few years ago, docs who commit malpractice lose their license to practice real quick.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2004, 11:41:54 pm by CARLHAYDEN »Logged

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StatesRights
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2004, 11:41:16 pm »
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What state!! Lets get an avatar here or something!
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CARLHAYDEN
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2004, 11:44:35 pm »
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Arizona.
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StatesRights
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2004, 11:47:18 pm »
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Arizona.



Ah, the Florida of the Southwest!
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2004, 11:48:27 pm »
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I would probably side with Bush on the issue of Malpractice caps.  If I remember right, Bush would prefer to eliminate malpractice suits altogether, which I don't agree with.

People should be compensated if they got the wrong leg amputated, but doctors shouldn't live in constant fear.  Seriously curb it without eliminating it would be my position.  Lawyers are getting waaay too powerful.

If it came out to be a factor in the election?  Not sure.  I think the support for malpractice lawsuits is pretty evenly distributed along party and ideological lines, so it wouldn't have that much of an effect.  Either candidate could potentially do well with it if they could tell the right story.  Kerry would run an ad about how poor Richard Gephardt had the right lobe of his brain removed when he just came in for a cough.  Bush would run an ad about how the doctor who was supposed to operate on Dick Cheney and save his life was forced out of business due to a lawsuit for accidently leaving a scar while operating on a big toe of a lawyer.
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CARLHAYDEN
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2004, 12:14:22 am »
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First, Bush is on record as favoring limits on medical malpractice awards, not eliminating them.  He has also favored administrative remedies as an initial step in the process.

Second, the trial lawyers are on of the biggest and most powerful intersts in the Democrat party.  If Kerry snubbed them, nader would start getting lots of money.

Third, you vastly overate the effectiveness of political ads.  When people learn that their doc, or one for a family member is leaving the state or giving up the practice because of medical malpractice premiums they believe that, not some fancy ad.

To support the relative ineffectivness of mass media versus actual experience, I suggest you look at what happened in California last year.  The mass media was overwhelming against the recall, but, the people were mad as hell at the actions of Davis, which touched them personally (in their wallets).  Bye, Bye Davis.  

Have you ever seen how angry people get when their employer changes HMOs and they find that their doctor isn't on the panel of docs for the HMO?
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2004, 12:54:58 am »
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As someone whose father is permanently paralyzed as a result of gross medical malpractice, I would not support a limit on such damages. I can speak from great personal experience as to the necessity of such suits, and I trust judges and juries to make decisions about what is reasonable, not the politicians.
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2004, 01:02:06 am »
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1.  I'll be the first to admit I'm not very informed about Bush's statements on malpractice, my mistake.

2.  Exactly.

3.  My examples were exaggerated and sarcastic.  And it would be important for whatever candidate who was using the issue to mention local examples in his speech on the matter and if he were to run ads, make them local specific and include local examples again.

The reason why Davis won in the first place was because enough people preferred a scumbag over a slimeball.
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CARLHAYDEN
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2004, 11:07:23 am »
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As someone whose father is permanently paralyzed as a result of gross medical malpractice, I would not support a limit on such damages. I can speak from great personal experience as to the necessity of such suits, and I trust judges and juries to make decisions about what is reasonable, not the politicians.

First, I'm sorry to hear about your father's suffering.

Second, for my own citation, I note that the doctor who has delivered my oldest daughter's last two kids announced to his patients that he is leaving because he cann't afford the malpractice insurance costs.  There has never been a case filed against him for medical malpractice.

Third, I've seen judges in action, and I wouldn't trust most of them any further than I could throw my car.

Fourth, judges keep juries from hearing relevant evidence when they want a case to go in a particular way.  So, frequently the juries don't have the full story.

Fifth, it is not unusual for juries to feel sorry for an injured plaintiff and to award him/her extremely high damages (beyond compensatory damages) in the mistaken belief that the defendant will pay.  Some of them are a little more sophisticated and believe that the insurance company (which they believe simply has money which comes from a magical source) will pay.  What they don't realize is that all docs, including the many good ones end up paying for their generosity, and when the costs become too high the docs quit or leave, and we all pay.

Sixth, genuine compensatory damages are of course valid, but the malefactor should be punished by the Board of Medical Examiners rather than punishing other doctors.

Finally, lawyers should not be enriched by high awards (lawyers in these cases typically take a third of the award on a contingency fee basis).  If these cases were often decided in an administrative process, you could cut out (or at least reduce) the cost of the lawyers.
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2004, 11:11:56 am »
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I oppose these limits. I believe it is important for those who were injured to have a form of redress against those who have exacted pain and suffering upon them.

In addition, I believe that we must be forever mindful of the right of juries to decide such controversies. If an award is truly excessive, an appellate court can strike it down on the grounds of being an excessive fine within the context of the Eighth Amendment.
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CARLHAYDEN
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2004, 11:34:56 am »
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First, apparently you do not understand the difference between "compesantory" and "punitive" damages.  'Pain and suffering' is a compensatory damage.

Second, juries only hear the 'evidence' judges want them to hear.  If they heard additional evidence often excluded by judges, they might change their minds.

Third, you also ignore the costs of protracted litigation.  Yes, appealate judges do reduce damages awards in some cases, but the lawyers don't work for free.

Fourth, you continue to ignore the central problem, i.e. that good docs (and their patients) are paying for the awards.

In summation, to the extent that monetary damages can make a plaintiff whole, well and good, but lets reduce the cost of process (which ultimately the vast majority of patients bear) by excising the cost of the shysters.
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2004, 12:42:57 pm »
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Malpractice suits should be automatically dismissed.  You knew the odds of failure going into the operation, if it failed then the doctor is not to blame.  If you didn't know the risk then you were probably in a state where you would have died without the treatment, as such you are better off than you would have been without the treatment and should therefore stop whining.
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2004, 01:49:26 pm »
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I am not for dismissing malpractice cases, but I am definitely for putting a cap on awards. If someone has a gripe or a serious grievance, it should be heard. If there was negligence, then an award is in order because a patient is trusting a doctor or physician to provide the appropriate care, and if he/she can't, then who can you trust? But I'm not for awarding millions and millions for everyone who screams malpractice. Lots of states are facing this problem and there are too many people who will sue for as much as they can get, just to get rich because someone made a mistake, and it's at the expense of everyone else, in the end. Definitely caps.

I'm not sure if this would help Bush or Kerry, assuming Bush would be for caps or throwing out malpractice suits and Kerry is not putting caps on awards. I would like to think that people would side with Bush and realize that, like unions that get out of control, a handful of people are damaging the entire state/country.
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2004, 08:48:21 pm »
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Medical malpractice caps were a dumb idea from the get-go.

Of course Dumbya wants to go even further by banning people from suing HMOs.
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2004, 08:51:50 pm »
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The medical industry is an abomination.
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CARLHAYDEN
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2004, 08:55:58 pm »
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I would like to see a reputable survey on this question.

I suspect Bush voters would support caps by at least three to one.

I suspect that undecided voters would support it by approximately two to one.

I suspect that Kerry voters would be closely divided on this issue.
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StatesRights
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2004, 09:27:15 pm »
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Also I would limit the amount the lawyers get on whatever capped settlement a person recieves. Lawyers end up taking WAY more then they should.
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Nym90
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2004, 10:16:45 pm »
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If judges can't be trusted to decide these cases fairly, then either they themselves (if they hold an elected position) or the politican who appointed them should be voted out of office. That's why we have a democracy. I feel it is highly irresponsible to make a blanket assertion that judges cannot be trusted...what you are saying is that the people cannot be trusted to vote for good judges.
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2004, 10:40:56 pm »
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or rather that the nominating process is ed up or that the job description is a deterant against good candidates.
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2004, 10:51:51 pm »
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Perhaps. However, if that is the case, it would make more sense to fix the problems with the nominating system and/or the election of judges, not merely strip them of their power. If they can't be trusted in these cases, than I don't see how they can be trusted to decide other important cases either.
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CARLHAYDEN
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2004, 08:42:21 am »
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First, federal judges are lifetime appointments.

Second, in some states the terms of office can exceed a decade.

Third, the system has been rigged to prevent competition for judicial offices in most states.

Fourth, the public generally does not know of the records of judges prior to voting, and they typrically get retained unless that have made a major fool of themselves as occured in California where Rose Bird and the birdbrains when out of their way to antagonize the voters.

Fifth, yes it would be nice to improve the judiciary, but it would also be nice to have a great tasting ice cream with no calories.  Its more likely we'll get the latter than the former.  
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« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2004, 01:32:57 pm »
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A cap on non-economic damages and, more importantly, a loser pays system where a person who files a lawsuit and loses has to pay the opponent's judicial fees, would go a long way to fixing the problem.  Also, cap the number of people who can file a class action suit to 100, so we don't get these multi-billion dollar settlements that can badly damage private companies.
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« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2004, 06:20:29 pm »
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I'm all for eliminating malpractice suits altogether.  Doctors do serve a useful purpose - few lawyers do.  Interestingly, the Democratic party is largely the party of lawyers (esp. personal injury lawyers) today.
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