Dr Fragen in the operating room

Baby Steps to Healthcare Reform


Since I’m sure all members of Congress will have the opportunity to read and comprehend the entirety of whatever is the current healthcare legislation the following small steps to improve the situation will be meaningless. I have 3 simple proposals that could fit on a single page. Heck, it fits in a single post.

  1. Eliminate pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny insurance.
  2. Allow insurance companies to sell in any market in the US.
  3. Malpractice reform — Loser Pays

I think the first 2 are self evident so lets focus for a moment on the third.
Loser Pays
What I mean is that all legal fees will be paid by the losing party to the litigation. This would include naming a doctor in a med mal suit and then dropping them from the suit.
You see, just because a doctor gets dropped from a suit doesn’t mean that his malpractice carrier doesn’t incur costs. In fact, it’s usually about $20K to defend a suit that is dropped.
Interestingly, anytime a doc is dropped from a suit, they must sign a release stating that they will not sue the plaintiff’s attorney. I once tried not to sign this but my lawyer told me he’d never seen it done before.
Yeah, I know, it doesn’t solve many of the problems facing our healthcare industry. But I bet it would improve the situation with minimal effort.


2 responses to “Baby Steps to Healthcare Reform”

  1. Noah Abrahamson Avatar
    Noah Abrahamson

    Let’s look at item number one. Let’s say the magical wand of government regulation passed over the free market of healthcare and eliminated pre-existing conditions are a qualification for dropping coverage. Presto! Sounds great.

    How does your one paragraph policy deal with end users who decide to save a bundle by forgoing insurance until they get a diagnosis? If every insurance company out there will take me when I’m sick, why would I pay while I’m healthy?

    1. Andy Avatar

      Noah, welcome to the discussion. While, yes, sometimes I do agree that the method in which Congress passes laws does seem to resemble magic, usually dark magic; as opposed to the simple mandates in Article 1. But I think you misunderstand my simple proposal. It’s only supposed to be a start.

      I make no proposal mandating the purchase of health insurance. But the simple truth is that if my first 2 points were adopted, health insurance rates would go down. Yes, they would go down even lower if it were mandated that every person purchase health insurance but I don’t think that’s Constitutional. Congress can’t pass a law requiring someone to buy something. However, they could pass a tax that could then be spent for those purposes.

      Besides, I don’t think that even with the inability to drop someone for pre-existing conditions that you would be able to purchase insurance for the same rate as a healthy, non-smoking 20 year old if you have developed some horrendous disease or cancer, nor should you. This is still a capitalist system.

      Insurance costs will still be more for the obese, diabetic smoker. Shouldn’t they be?