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Is H. R. 1215 the biggest fraud on the public ever?

7 comments

To achieve the rank of “biggest fraud” would take some doing from some (not all) politicians who use lies or half-truths knowing that the public won’t check the facts and hoping that the media won’t educate the public about the truth. But, its Thursday in Honolulu and the House just passed H.R. 1215 with a vote of 218 – 210 and the premise of that bill is a lie. No two ways around it. H. R. 1215 is a fraud on the public. I’m irritated, I admit it.

Here is what the 218 House members who voted for passage contend the Bill will accomplish (check out how your House member voted on the link):

Health care costs are skyrocketing. Total health care spending went from 7.2 percent of GDP in 1970 to 17.8 percent in 2015. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that it will rise further to 19.9 percent by 2025. Among the causes of this growth are medical malpractice lawsuits, when patients sue doctors, hospitals, or medical groups.

That statement contains a BIG lie. Let’s focus on the lie: “Among the causes of this growth are medical malpractice lawsuits, when patients sue doctors, hospitals, or medical groups.” Here are the facts, the truth:

  1. Suing doctors and hospitals when they make avoidable errors and injure patients is only 2.6 percent of American health care spending. Medical liability costs in U.S. pegged at 2.4 percent of annual health care spending
  2. The real reason for increased health care costs is insurance companies gouging doctors and hospitals for treatment. Americans for Insurance Reform Issues Two New Studies On Medical Malpractice Insurance 
  3. Another reason for increased health care costs is pharmaceutical companies charging outrageous prices for prescription drugs. The Facts About Rising Priscription Drug Costs 

Let’s look at the truth. The two new studies cited by Americans for Insurance Reform prove that there is no connection between doctors’ insurance premiums and doctors being sued when they hurt their patients:

Stable Losses/Unstable Rates 2016 finds that medical malpractice premiums and claims per doctor are currently at their lowest level since data were first recorded four decades ago.

Premium Deceit 2016: The Failure of “Tort Reform to Cut Insurance Prices, finds that state limits on patients’ legal rights have no impact whatsoever on insurance rates for doctors.

Some other truths:

  1. Avoidable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.  Medical Errors Are No. 3 Cause Of U.S Deaths, Researchers Say   
  2. 251,000 lives are lost due to avoidable medical errors every year in the U. S., more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.
  3. Defensive medicine does not add to the cost of health care.

On defensive medicine causing a major increase in health care costs there are many articles written by medical groups and insurance companies that state that conclusion but offer no actual study data to prove it. One scientific study based on real doctors and hospitals documenting each and every treatment over a period of time. The Cost of Defensive Medicine on Three Hospital Medicine Services

In conclusion, although a large portion of hospital orders had some defensive component, our study found that few orders were completely defensive, and that physicians’ attitudes about defensive medicine did not correlate with cost. Our findings suggest that only a small portion of medical costs might be reduced by tort reform.

This study was done by scientists and independent doctors. It was noit a propaganda piece. The facts spoke.

The medical profession in our country is generally excellent AND ethical. Doctors don’t cheat. They try to heal their patients. This defensive medicine claim by insurance companies and doctors who are innocently but incorrectly afraid of being sued, wrongly portrays doctors as committing un-ethical acts. It isn’t true. We have a small number of careless, poorly trained doctors. They do a lot of harm. And a lot of harm comes from miscommunication in regard to care of a single patient. When that happens it is only right and fair that the patient be told a mistake was made and compensated if the error leads to permanent injury or death.

What is driving health care costs upward? Big Pharma. Prescription drugs account for 20% of health care costs and in 2014 alone they increased ove 13%. Compared to the measly 2.4% of health care costs associated with compensating those suffer death or life-long injury due to avoidable medical errors, you have to wonder what the lobbyists are feeding to those who support H. R. 1215? And why should families suffering staggering losses and ruined lives due to careless avoidable error at the hospital not be taken care of? Maybe something going on behind the scenes with H. R. 1215 that doesn’t meet the eye?

There you have it. The big lie(s) and the truth(s). Why, you ask, would 218 House members vote for a Bill like H. R. 1215 that is based on a lie and then lie to the public about it? The real reason has nothing to do with health care costs or anything else involving health care. This Bill will hurt the trial lawyers. That is the goal of the 218 supporters. It will attack trial lawyers willingness and ability to take contingent fee cases for those 215,000 families each year who lose a family member due to avoidable medical errors. You see trial lawyers actively support election of candidates who support civil justice in this country. Trial lawyers take huge financial risks to protect the peoples’ branch of government. The courthouse, independent judges and citizen juries, can’t be bought and paid for, and they decide right and wrong against the rich and powerful and the “corporateers” that Harvey Rosenfield talks about often, and insurance companies. Its the only time in our Democracy that people actually determine outcomes directly. Contingent fee cases are a tough way to make a living often requiring an investment by the lawyer of $50,000 or $100,000 or more, and then not being paid anything for 2 or 3 years. And the trial is always a gamble. Tough business. But it is the business of the people and those of us who do it don’t like bullies and don’t like the kind of lies that we see in H. R. 1215.

 

 

7 Comments

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  1. JC says:
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    Actually, the “Big Fraud” is Wayne Parsons with his false concern for plaintiffs er patients. What really irritates Wayne about this law is that it severely limits plaintiff attorney contingency fees allowing more money to go deserving injured patients and less to greedy plaintiff attorneys. Yep, in Ohio contingency fees are typically 40%, so with an award of $1,000,000, the plaintiff attorney walks away with $400K. Nice pay for a weeks work in Court! Notice how Wayne Parsons did not mention contingency fee cuts in his critique of this bill. According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, nearly 80% of malpractice suits filed in Ohio are frivolous and are dropped without payment. If H.R. 1215 passes, expect fewer of these frivolous suits because it doesn’t pay plaintiff attorneys to file them. Readers should support H.R. 1215 instead of big frauds like Wayne Parsons.

  2. Angus says:
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    JC,

    Wayne, Mike, Mark, David, etc. didn’t miss your name calling and posting of pretty much the exact same comment every time the word malpractice was mentioned on this site. I see you haven’t updated your material.

    We put up with your trolling way too long last time. If you’re interested in having a civil discussion, welcome back. But if you’re just going to scream, “OHIO!” “80 PERCENT!” “FRIVOLOUS!” over and over like you did for years previously, you are encouraged to go back to whatever it is you’ve been up to.

  3. JC says:
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    Actually Angus, I do more than name calling. I have worked with the Ohio State Medical Association and the Olio Legislature to try and curb some plaintiff attorney legal abuse. I helped spearhead Ohio House Bill 7 to limit and hopefully eliminate “Loss of a Chance” legal theory in Ohio.
    But much more needs to be done. I think it is unconscionable that malpractice litigation lasts for years! Since doctors win 80-90% of the malpractice cases we are the most common victims of this delay. Obviously, this affects legitimate malpractice victims too. So I have a solution which I hope will get enacted into law. Delay damages! Once medical expert discovery has been completed, the presiding judge certifies that discovery has been completed. After that time, the plaintiffs and their attorneys and the defendant doctor have to make a decision in 60 days. After those 60 days the plaintiff or doctor has a legal cause of action to sue for delay damages. For the plaintiff, he can sue the doctor for delay damages based upon a yearly percentage of the damages won at trial. For the doctor, he can sue the plaintiff for $5,000/month for every month after the 60 day decision window. This gives the doctor an insentive to settle if he feels he injured the patient. It gives the patient an insentive to drop doctors from a malpractice suit when they were not involved. In my case where I was sued for 10 years because a patient did not get an aspirin, the case would have been dropped much sooner if I could have sued the plaintiff (and plaintiff’s attorney) for $5,000/month delay damages. Legitimate good malpractice plaintiff attorneys already drop innocent doctors from malpractice cases at the earliest time. My concept is aimed at malpractice attorneys who are simply trying to drag out the legal proceedings to try and legally extort money from the doctors insurance carrier. What do you think?

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    Dr. Cox. Contingent fees are important to you I gather. The reason so few medical error cases are filed is because of this:

    1. The lawyer has to find a doctor who will review the medical record. That costs $3,000 to $10,000. The lawyer must pay that money.

    2. Because doctors and hospitals will punish any doctor who gives a family an opinion that the reason Mom died was that the doctor made an obvious, avoidable error, no doctor in Ohio will do that. You know it well Dr. Cox. The Conspiracy of Silence. My thought is organized crime. How do you describe it?

    3. If I take the case and file suit I will have to spend between $30,000 and $500,000 for expert fees, court costs and other expenses before we get to trial.

    4. If we lose I don’t get that money back.

    5. The plaintiffs lawyers that take these gambles don’t get paid for 3 to 5 years of work and if they lose they lose the $30,000 to $500,000 that they spent.

    I noticed that you did not have one fact that could be verified by any independent source to support your description of me, Wayne Parsons, as a fraud. I know that my work has saved lives. You on the other hand have worked to keep doctors in business who hurt people. Who kill their patients. I am about file a lawsuit against a doctor in Ohio who came to Hawaii and injured a patient. That doctor is now in house arrest in Cleveland.

    You are a paid henchman for negligent doctors. As my article stated, most doctors are great and they save lives. You protect the ones who injure people. I imagine you got good pay for helping the insurance industry.

  5. Angus says:
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    JC,

    I think you just mentioned “legitimate malpractice victims” and “legitimate good malpractice plaintiff attorneys” in the same comment. You must be getting soft in your old age.

    I think you know H.R. 1215 is bad for patients.

    I *know* you troll legitimate good malpractice plaintiff attorneys (and good people) on this very website and have for years.

    I *know* you never offer evidence to dispute facts from posts on which you comment. You just try to change the subject.

  6. JC says:
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    Wayne and Angus can say what they want. Have they ever been sued for medical malpractice because their name was on the chart? Have Wayne and Angus been sued for malpractice for 6 years because of a typographical mistake for which they had no responsibility? How about living thru a ten year lawsuit because a patient did not get an aspirin, which would have made no difference to the patient’s outcome. Have Wayne or Angus ever had to go thru that? I am a competent, established physician who has had to go thru those 3 lawsuits for years and all were dropped without payment. Perhaps Wayne and Angus are competent attorneys. But it is very hard for me to believe that the bozos who sued me were competent capable responsible attorneys. When plaintiff attorneys act irresponsibly as these three did, why shouldn’t I be allowed to sue the bastards and hold them accountable for their actions?

  7. JC says:
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    Wayne I am going to give you some facts. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.B. 1215 will save consumers 0.4 % in medical costs per year! That is because 75 – 80% of malpractice suits filed are frivolous, much like the cases filed against me. The Ohio Department of Insurance verified my claim of 75 – 80% frivolous claims. Wayne all you have to do is look at the Ohio Department of Insurance statics to verify the veracity of my statements. I consider it a frivolous claim when the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney voluntarily drop the claim without payment. I mean, if the plaintiff does not believe in the lawsuit that he filed and drops the lawsuit, IT MUST BE FRIVOLOUS!

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