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Old August 7th, 2009, 07:40 PM   #1
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Default Duffman's Plan To Reform Healthcare, Part 1

It's been a while, so here goes:

Duffman's plan to start reforming healthcare in the U.S. :

First, a few principles or "givens":

1) The U.S. currently has the best healthcare delivery system on the planet. The capability and quality of the medical care available exceed that available in Europe (including the "junior socialist' cradle to grave programs in many European countries) or Asia. When those with unlimited resources want the best care available, they come here.

2) Government is not capable of running a complex program like health care in a high quality and efficient manner.


Step One: Tort Reform

Change 1: Medical treatments - particularly in cases of unusual or advanced illnesses/conditions - are a blend of art and science. Trained practitioners gather data, and make informed decisions. No matter how well-informed those decision makers are or how skilled and educated the person(s) involved in healthcare decisions are there will always be cases where actions taken don't succeed.

So in Change 1 of Tort Reform, no medical practitioner who follows a standard protocol/prudent course of action under the given the circumstances can be held liable for a negative or unexpected outcome. Period. No second-guessing, monday morning quarterbacking by paid experts or professional witnesses. Only in cases of truly gross negligence (i.e. drunken doctor) can negligence be considered.

Change 2: Drugs are a key part of our medical system, and have the capability to save lives and improve the quality of lives. The way in which drugs work will result in side effects and interactions. Not all possible side effects, interactions, or anomalous responses can be anticipated. Oh, and people lie about their histories, "unofficial" drug use, etc...

In Change 2, no drug manufacturer, researcher, distributor, etc... can be held liable for the effects of a drug, either known and expected or unknown as long as said drug has received proper FDA approvals. This applies to future discoveries as well. If it's FDA approved, no lawsuits, period.

Change 3: This is a companion to Change 2. No medical practitioner can be held liable anything arising from the use of an FDA approved drug in the designated manner. If they used the drug in the prescribed manner for it's intended purpose, they cannot be sued for any side effects or interactions (provided they made a legitimate attempt to get a patient history). An incomplete patient history is not the medical practitioner's problem. A future discovery about a drug likewise does not make the practitioner liable.

Change 4: Eliminate "class action" lawsuits, which given the changes above would be tough to put together. Every lawsuit (that passed the tests of Changes 1-3 above) would each have to be individually litigated. One plaintiff, one lawyer, one trial.

Change 5: Lawsuits become "loser pays", where an unsuccessful plaintiff is responsible for paying their lawyer (no more "only pay if you win" and 40%+ legal fees) AND for paying the full cost of the defense effort. Plaintiffs with no ability to do this would have their cases dismissed before the trail started (with no costs other than their legal counsel costs). Obviously, the plaintiff's legal counsel could elect to work pro bono (free), but they would be precluded from collecting any funds from the plaintiff.


Those changes should save tens of billions annually in the form of reduced malpractice insurance fees, reduced medical practitioner costs, and lower drug costs. Our drug companies and medical community can again focus on patient care and outcomes rather than litigation avoidance and management.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 08:21 PM   #2
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1) The U.S. currently has the best healthcare delivery system on the planet.
I'm not sure I agree with that statement.

I agree that the capability and quality of heath care in this country is second to none, I don't think that our system for delivering it is all that great. I think it costs too much and leaves too many people with no care.

Tort reform will help with the costs.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 08:42 PM   #3
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I'm not sure I agree with that statement.

I agree that the capability and quality of heath care in this country is second to none, I don't think that our system for delivering it is all that great. I think it costs too much and leaves too many people with no care.

Tort reform will help with the costs.
That's what I meant by "delivery system" - i.e. medical capability. The administrative areas need help, but are better than government. Tort reform will take some really nuts costs out of the system (i.e. $300K+/year for OB/GYN malpractice insurance after "John Edwards type" lawsuits by parents who don't like the kid's appearance and blamed the doctor...
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Old August 7th, 2009, 08:56 PM   #4
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Would be the best place to start. Good call only thing I'd change is attorneys could still do 40%+expenses only pay if you win, but if you lose you pay for defence fees.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 09:43 PM   #5
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That's what I meant by "delivery system" - i.e. medical capability. The administrative areas need help, but are better than government. Tort reform will take some really nuts costs out of the system (i.e. $300K+/year for OB/GYN malpractice insurance after "John Edwards type" lawsuits by parents who don't like the kid's appearance and blamed the doctor...
OK. When I saw "delivery system" i was thinking the mix mash of insurance companies and employer provided health care programs. You're talking about the system of doctors, hospitals, and other facilities that actually provide the care. I agree then.

The only thing I'd add, (maybe it already exists) is some type of arbitration board that the average citizen could go before and have his case heard. Otherwise you're likely to have some unscrupulous doctors taking poor peoples money and delivering substandard care, knowing that they won't be able to afford a lawyer to sue them.
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Old August 8th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #6
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Part 2 of my plan would call for all members of government (with the exception of the active duty or injured in the line of duty military) to receive the same healthcare benefits as any other government employee. The sitting President (as a member of the military) would receive special treatment, but only while in office. His family gets the same benefits as any other military dependents.

After leaving office (i.e. "retiring") politicians would receive the same level of healthcare benefits (or not) as any other government retiree, given their years of service.

Government employee healthcare benefits would be indexed to private industry to ensure parity.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #7
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Gee, if I remember correctly, Tor reform was to be part of the health reform.

No time to research right now, you are all on your own.

Sorry, Duff, don't have time to read your whole post at the moment.
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