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Lets Make A Deal Trading Malpractice Reform For Health Reform

Author: William M. Sage, David A. Hyman
$15.00

Physician leadership is required to improve the efficiency and reliability of the US health care system, but many physicians remain lukewarm about the changes needed to attain these goals. Malpractice liability—a sore spot for decades—may exacerbate physician resistance. The politics of malpractice have become so lawyer-centric that recognizing the availability of broader gains from trade in tort reform is an important insight for health policy makers. To obtain relief from malpractice liability, physicians may be willing to accept other policy changes that more directly improve access to care and reduce costs. For example, the American Medical Association might broker an agreement between health reform proponents and physicians to enact federal legislation that limits malpractice liability and simultaneously restructures fee-for-service payment, heightens transparency regarding the quality and cost of health care services, and expands practice privileges for other health professionals. There are also reasons to believe that tort reform can make ongoing health care delivery reforms work better, in addition to buttressing health reform efforts that might otherwise fail politically.

Physician leadership is required to improve the efficiency and reliability of the US health care system, but many physicians remain lukewarm about the changes needed to attain these goals. Malpractice liability—a sore spot for decades—may exacerbate physician resistance. The politics of malpractice have become so lawyer-centric that recognizing the availability of broader gains from trade in tort reform is an important insight for health policy makers. To obtain relief from malpractice liability, physicians may be willing to accept other policy changes that more directly improve access to care and reduce costs. For example, the American Medical Association might broker an agreement between health reform proponents and physicians to enact federal legislation that limits malpractice liability and simultaneously restructures fee-for-service payment, heightens transparency regarding the quality and cost of health care services, and expands practice privileges for other health professionals. There are also reasons to believe that tort reform can make ongoing health care delivery reforms work better, in addition to buttressing health reform efforts that might otherwise fail politically.

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