Months into the emotionally charged health care debate, the negative impact that out-of-control litigation is having on our system is finally getting some attention. In a recent speech to Congress, President Obama said what many have long-insisted: Reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the cost of health care. Now, I don’t believe that medical malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I’ve talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs.
In fact, curbing lawsuit abuse to improve health care access and affordability is a no-brainer. The American Medical Association has found that liability pressure increases health system costs by between $84 and $151 billion per year. Meanwhile, a 2006 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health estimated that nearly 40 percent of the medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the U.S. were without merit.
Many personal injury lawyers file suit against physicians, hospitals and other health care providers claiming to act in patients’ best interests. But, too often, they’re just preying on the system for their own personal gain.
The time for meaningful medical liability reform is now. As Rep. Charles Boustany, a former cardiovascular surgeon who now represents Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District, recently said in a nationally televised speech, we need to establish tough liability reform standards, encourage speedy resolution of claims, and deter junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of care. Real reform must do this.
Indeed, rampant medical liability lawsuits have spawned a culture of defensive medicine where doctors are often forced to order expensive and sometimes dangerous tests to rule out highly improbable diagnoses, simply to protect themselves against lawsuits. These unnecessary tests and procedures do not result in better health outcomes, and the unnecessary costs are inevitably passed along to us in the form of higher insurance premiums and deductibles.
This does not bode well for our health or our wallets.
President Obama and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle must work together on medical malpractice reforms that will help control costs, better protect doctors and, most importantly, better serve patients.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, December 12, 2013:
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.