Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama at the AMA: two thoughts

The one thought comes from my misreading of a headline. AOL ran the headline Some doctors boo while Obama is speaking at the AMA, which I misread as Some doctors BLOG while Obama is speaking at the AMA, which led me to wonder, Where the hell did Mike Matthews find a white lab coat?

Later, when I read the article, I had this serious thought. Despite his rhetoric at the AMA, if it becomes necessary to get physicians onboard with a strong public option (the ultimate administration objective), will the President do an about-face on opposing medical malpractice caps? He's already backed off the no taxing existing health care benefits position from last fall, why not this one?

I think of this in the context of Obama as pragmatic politician, who would slip that in to give a couple of moderate Republicans like Snowe or Collins the cover they needed to support the end product.

My major point: don't underestimate this man's political will. Everything is negotiable to him to get to the bottom line.

Some of you will think that is a good thing; others will be appalled.


Miko said...

While I'm definitely not a fan of some of his compromises, this one seems fairly in keeping with his core ideology. If one thinks that the point of government is to put the welfare of a society above the welfare of the members of that society, it makes perfect sense to cap reparations for malpractice.

Delaware Watch said...

Here's your answer, Steve:

And I consider it to be shocking.

Nancy Willing said...

But as a senator, he advanced legislation aimed at reducing malpractice suits. And Dr. J. James Rohack, the incoming president of the medical association, said Mr. Obama told him at a meeting last month that he was open to offering some liability protection to doctors who follow standard guidelines for medical practice.



I hate the uber awards often secured by litigation as much as I hate the uber rewards that Wall Streeters collect from their supportive boards.

Nancy Willing said...

I just stumbled onto a FDL diary covering the link Dana cites here.

"But I'm curious about what folks think about any deal involving malpractice reform. It seems to me we're crawling towards some greater degree of regulatory oversight, based on comparative studies, open records, best-practices peer review and so on. The hope is that medical errors and poor practices become easier to detect and avoid. There will be a reinvigorated Medicare advisory entity to help push these reforms within federal plans and create pressure on private plans to conform.

There's a plausible tradeoff between achieving better quality through these measures and the need to use the tort system as a primary driver of accountability. Moreover, if there were a system in which everyone is covered for most/all of their health care costs, then a part of the rationale, except for pain/suffering, for cost recovery via lawsuits looks different. "

Note the questioning of the Times' depiction of hospitals being up in arms.

It is reminding me of a stink a few years ago when DE wanted to get more from hospitals. It may have been a tax and Christiana Health put a stop to that but quick.

Anonymous said...

I agree. You want the AMA on your side and you want to better public health care take the fear of frivilous lawsuits and enormous malpractice insurance out of the equation.