Medical Liability Reform Pledge

President Barack Obama’s pledge to address medical malpractice liability concerns in his speech to Congress on healthcare Wednesday night has prompted a lot of headlines. In his speech the president proposed moving forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. He directed the Department of Health and Human Services to move forward on the initiative with pilot projects at the state level. “I don’t believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I’ve talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs,† the president said. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal states that programs underway in various states could provide a template for the administration’s initiative. Meanwhile, the New York Times Prescriptions blog cites insurer and doctors’ groups saying the devil is in the details of the plan. Responding to the President’s speech the American Medical Association (AMA) said: “Recognizing the critical need for medical liability reform is an important step toward reducing unnecessary costs. Everyday physicians across the country are forced to consider the broken medical liability system when making decisions, resulting in defensive medicine that adds to unnecessary health costs. We cannot ignore this problem if health-system reform is going to address the growing cost of care.† Check out I.I.I. information on medical malpractice.

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