Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Breakfast and suggestion for medical malpractice reform 

banana, apple, tea

Wackjobs blame the victims of medical malpractice for skyrocketing healthcare costs and want to limit non-economic malpractice liability to $250K - meaning that in itself, loss of your ability to walk, see, hear, have children or breathe without a machine will never be worth more than an arbitrary $250K.

It seems to me that if we are wanting to place a cap on patient's compensation, it would also be reasonable to place a cap on caregiver's compensation. Max compensation for physicians, administrators, comptrollers, CEOs: $250K. That ought to bring down the cost of healthcare.

But that sort of cap would never fly. Maybe some sort of a cap should be placed on these types of compensations for victims of malpractice, but the arbitrary figure of $250K is bothersome. It should have some real world measure from which it is derived.

Perhaps it should be measured against the compensation of the guilty parties. Say the malpractice took place at a smaller rural hospital, so the CEO is only compensated at $450K a year, the treating physician makes $200K/year - both the physician and hospital were found to be responsible for the medical error. The longest obligation anybody usually enters into is a 30 year mortgage, so we can just use 30 years of those salaries ... $19.5 million.

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