There is no doubt that since the passage of the Affordable Care Act three years ago people are not exactly sure of what to healthcare costs to expect. One of the major costs to healthcare is the annual cost of defensive medicine. According to the independent healthcare economics firm BioScience Valuation, the annual cost of defensive medicine in America exceeds $480 billion.
Other than a $25 million pilot project, the Affordable Care Act did not even seriously look at medical malpractice or defensive medicine. How could you overlook two such expensive factors when overhauling America’s healthcare system?
The other day, Wayne Oliver, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Patients for Fair Compensation, authored a commentary in the Wall Street Journal regarding the issue of kicking medical malpractice out of the courts. A couple of states (Georgia and Florida) are looking at repealing their medical tort systems and replacing it with a medical-compensation board similar to those used for workers’ compensation.
The Patients’ Compensation System, or PCS, being studied in Florida and Georgia is a no-fault, administrative model for addressing medical injuries. Patients unhappy with their care would file a claim to a panel of healthcare experts. If the panel found that a medical injury had occurred, the injured person would be compensated. Compared to our current system, where a case could drag on for years, this system would be much faster.
This system could have huge benefits to both taxpayers and patients. The saving to Medicaid alone could be in the billions, according to BioScience Valuation. If all 50 states adopt the PCS, it is estimated that it could save the American health care system $2.6 trillion over 10 years.
While CALA does not necessarily support this model, it does support the need to look at healthcare and legal costs. Since legal costs in medicine were almost completely ignored in the Affordable Care Act, maybe states need to seriously think about dealing with this issue at the state level.
For more information you should check out Patients for Fair Compensation. If it saves our court system and the taxpayers billions isn’t it worth a serious look?