Myth Busters!

March 16, 2010

The Great Hoax: Tort Reform, Better Healthcare

Myth No. 1: Rising healthcare costs can be tied to malpractice claims

According to the most reliable of sources, the projected costs of healthcare spending in 2009 were approximately $2.5 trillion – with a T. Of that, even including the costs of insurance premiums – figures that other studies have conclusively shown to be inflated without being tied to actual claims experience – the amount assignable to malpractice litigation is a mere 2 percent of the total.

The claim of inflated expenses due to so called defensive medicine, tests designed to get at the root of a problem and ensure for the patient as accurate a diagnosis as possible, are immeasurable and cannot be properly brought into the discussion without resorting to wholesale speculation.

Myth No. 2: Madison County-Judicial Hellhole

Reality sometimes intrudes on fantasy, and this is one sure case. Contrary to the popularly held belief, the Courts of Madison County have been among the most hostile to malpractice Plaintiffs in the State of Illinois. Case filings are down dramatically, even while announcements of new arrivals of physicians, the opening of hospital wings and the expansion of oft times competing specialty services fill the newspapers.

Truth be told, with the current litigation climate and juror attitude, no place is more hospitable to the negligent hospital or the clumsy surgeon than the Courts found in Edwardsville.

Myth No. 3: Malpractice premiums can be related to claims filed

Doctors in the Metro East have been consistently abused by their own captive insurance carrier, the Illinois State Medical Insurance Exchange – (ISMIE). Rates were set without regulation, and were naturally raised without remorse. Rather than focus on the real culprit, the strawman of the “frivolous lawsuit” – truly a myth given the oppressive costs involved for any such case – was created to deflect attention.

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