Healthcare Reform Real or Smokescreen?
All politicians, whatever their Party affiliation, want healthcare reform. And, reform is needed; no one disputes this fact. But, not one single Senator nor one single Congressman is proposing any real healthcare reform.
The only reform being suggested with any real validity is toward the fact that (pick a number - 4 million, 10 million, or the absurd 46 million) some of our citizens are uninsurable or simply cannot afford insurance. In addition some have chosen not to be insured. Their choice and their problem. This problem could easily be solved by creating (or expanding existing programs) a subsidized insurer of last resort. We do not need a complete overhaul (read destruction or government takeover) of our healthcare systems.
The real problem in healthcare is not healthcare at all. The problem is a broken legal system coupled with a public attitude which accepts absurd awards and looks at these awards as “no one is really hurt. It is paid by the insurance company.”
This causes insurance companies to raise malpractice insurance premiums to ruinous levels and causes doctors to order expensive tests to avoid malpractice suits. Both add many billions of dollars each year to healthcare costs. This is how healthcare is broken.
Politicians will never attack this problem because most of them are lawyers themselves or are beholden to lawyers. Only the voters can force a solution on politicians and they will fight it all the way.
When I was young it was illegal for lawyers to advertise. This was changed to “allow attorneys to identify their areas of expertise.” Too bad we didn’t think about one of these areas of expertise being “how to screw the doctor, or the hospital, or the insurance company or even your boss.” Is this, perhaps, a part of a general falling of our standards of honesty and decency?
Tort Reform. This is a fancy term for limiting those huge awards. Texas recently has made an attempt to do just that. But, tort reform can be more. It can help eliminate the ambulance chasers by making the losing attorney liable for a part of the legal fees of the winner of the suit. And it can impose upon those losing attorneys the court costs resulting from their suit. This is of particular value in those cases where the judge can identify the suit as a frivolous law suit. In such cases could there not be punitive fines for both the attorney and the plaintiff.
Of course any such reform would require careful study and an oversight process. But, it would limit the power of unscrupulous attorneys and plaintiffs who think they may just have won the lottery.
Bruce I. Maynes Alpharetta
© Copyright 2016 Maynesbi. All rights reserved.