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A New Look at Medical Malpractice

Posted on May 18, 2009

New reports from major news sources like the New York Times indicate that America’s new president may be willing to get serious about something doctors have been advocating for some time—a revision of medical malpractice laws.

Though the majority of the Democratic base has traditionally spoken out against limits on medical malpractice suits, for years doctors have been complaining about the high costs of medical malpractice insurance due to the status quo regarding settlement amounts or jury awards in the standard medical malpractice claim.

The NYT article mentions the kind of “defensive medicine” that doctors say contributes to the high costs of health care because all of the liability from litigation gets factored into the routine costs of providing any procedure.

It also suggests that an implicit reception of medical malpractice reform by Obama is part of a plan to get results in general health care reform as the Obama administration continues to look at how a public insurance plan or other new changes might bring down health care costs for Americans.

Key Democrats in Washington are split on the idea of limiting medical malpractice claims, but this NYT article suggests the idea will be getting a fair amount of attention sometime soon. Those involved in the field of medical malpractice law would do well to consider how changes, including caps on litigation or active intervention in the process for medical liability law, could have a lasting effect on this legal sector.