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Old 08-29-2009, 05:15 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Tort reform is a fairly small part of the big picture but it is clearly still a part of the overall cost control picture. And I think it's unfortunate that the majority party has been determined to keep it off the table. As long as they refuse to allow that to be considered as a component, I can't fully fault the other side for stonewalling.
It does add to the expense, but in odd ways. Actual payouts from malpractice litigation are a very small part of all health costs, under 1%. Malpractice insurance costs raise this to a figure still less than 2%. CBO Reference (PDF) (I found exact numbers, but there's a huge statistical variation. Litigation payout from 0.18 - 0.65%, and malpractice insurance costs from 0.55% to 1.5% of total healthcare costs. Remember that doctor costs are just a small part of healthcare costs.) A reduction in malpractice insurance cost of 25-30% would lower healthcare costs by perhaps 0.4-0.5%.

The real cost is supposedly in defensive medicine, the ordering of extra tests, specialist consults, and such, which is supposedly done to try and limit liability. That CBO report I referenced above found no significant difference in per-capita health care spending between states with and without limits on malpractice torts.

There is some suspicion that the pay-per-service model used may be a larger driver of defensive medicine, as each test or consult ordered becomes another billable code for medical insurance. There was an interesting article in the New Yorker, of all places, that talked about the amazing Medicare revenue stream providers in McAllen, Texas were seeing.

A pay-per-patient model, such as some HMOs use, might provide care at a more reasonable cost. (I moved to an HMO that has a very good reputation, for this reason, as well as spotty services by other insurers I had access to, and for early retirement healthcare planning I've gone over elsewhere.)

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Old 08-29-2009, 05:23 PM   #22
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I have written all my congress critters and Legislators many times each over the last couple years. A bunch this year on health care.
They always respond per real paper mail.
I have not received spam from them at all.

I think most return mails are a type of form letter but you must keep in mind, numbers is all that really matters to them. It is wise to write because they do keep score on which side of an issue most of the voters fall on. Numbers matter !!!

I personally don't understand why everyone isn't for more options on health care. The more options I have, the better price I would hope to be able to negotiate. Isn't that the way it works in the real world? I think most politicians are more interested in the campaign donations they receive from the insurance companies. We are being sold down the river. The insurance companies are fighting this tooth and nail and a lot of regular people are being sucked in by the fear that is being planted in their minds.
Also, I think a lot of folks fail to realize they will be on a government plan in just a few years anyway, whether they like it or not. Its called medicare. When you qualify for it, guess what? Blue cross doesn't want you any more. Oh, they will take some of your money to give you a little extra coverage but that's it.
I'm so disgusted about the whole situation, I say bring it on and bring it on now. I'll take my chances with any and all options.
Believe it or not I have voted very conservative since the early 70's so a huge change in thinking for me. Probably got a lot to do with going from working to retired soon? Throws me in a totally difference frame of mind.
Probably more than I should disclose but there it is.
I feel much better now

PS. I would love to see Blue cross begging for my business for a change. I've only paid the A$$ 000's all my life.
The enemy is the insurance companies not the people.
Now I really feel better

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Old 08-29-2009, 06:59 PM   #23
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