As the debate on healthcare reform rages, “extremes” is a watchword on both sides of the battle line. Many emotional outcries — from both sides — may be heartfelt, but are baseless. A couple days ago, the White House began promoting a campaign to “get at the facts”. President Obama stated, ““where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed.” We couldn’t agree more. As men and women of science, doctors treat patients with logic, an objective stance and informed analytical skills – every day. Our legislature would do well to appropriate the same thinking for healthcare reform.
Certain proposals are steps in the right direction. We can all support prevention and wellness programs. Informed, motivated patients will create a healthier society and reduce the financial burden placed on the system. Likewise, proposals that address patient’s concerns over insurance portability and the elimination of pre-existing condition restrictions can find common ground on both sides of the aisle and in the doctor’s office.
What is not addressed so far is tort reform. The current house bill makes no mention of tort reform – zero – apparently leaving this issue to the individual states to ease the burden and expense which unwarranted lawsuits place upon physicians. Any version of healthcare reform that ignores the tort reform will be doomed to failure.
The British concept of accountability would do much to dissuade frivolous lawsuits. There, if a suit against you is determined to be baseless, the court orders that the accuser pays for the expenses you incurred because of the action. Ambulance chasers would drop like flies if such legislation were passed. And cases with legitimate cause would have better, faster access to the courts should a judicial decision become necessary.
Medical Justice endorses changes that will actually improve healthcare standards. Let us let our voices be heard as ones of moderation, supporting those changes that result in healthier patients. Because a healthier society will ensure greater prosperity for us all.