Malpractice Reform is Not a Cure to Our Healthcare Mess

I’m gobsmacked at how Aaron Carroll find, reads, and comments on as much as he does and how he takes a deep dive so succinctly. This is one example “Some sober thoughts on malpractice reform“. He read a manuscript in Health Affairs “Let’s Make A Deal: Trading Malpractice Reform For Health Reform

In part he quotes the following

To obtain relief from malpractice liability, physicians may be willing to accept other policy changes that more directly improve access to care and reduce costs. For example, the American Medical Association might broker an agreement between health reform proponents and physicians to enact federal legislation that limits malpractice liability and simultaneously restructures fee-for-service payment, heightens transparency regarding the quality and cost of health care services, and expands practice privileges for other health professionals.

He further quotes from a key passage:

By contrast, decades of scholarship and empirical research suggest that malpractice liability acts only at the margin of health policy, where in relatively small ways it may both protect patients from negligent care and induce inefficient health care spending. (See the online Appendix for a more detailed summary of research on the malpractice system.) Physicians’ clinical decisions, on the other hand, are responsible for roughly two-thirds of total health spending. Physicians determine the quantity and quality of medical services and heavily influence the price paid for them. Research has revealed that far more of this spending is wasteful than can reasonably be attributed to liability pressure alone.

Check out Aaron Carroll, MD look at this topic, The Incidential Economist. He recommends reading the full article. It’s behind a pay wall and I am a cheap dude right now. But more importantly this is a new way to look at malpractice. A rather interesting and important step in this tort reform insanity. 

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