Health Care

Willaim Thurber - PhD Student thurber at FMGMT.MGMT.UTORONTO.CA
Mon Sep 11 12:38:45 MDT 1995

> |>         The USA is nearly alone in the world when it comes to one facet of
> |>         life in the courts.
> |
> |Yeah, you are right but how do we effect societal change, I'm still out of
> |ideas.  Of course Plaintiffs are not the only ones to take advantage of
> |the process but pointing out that the system is even more broken down is
> |not helping to find a solution.
>         Don't think you are being fair in spanking me for identifying a problem
>         and "not helping to find a solution" between the problem ID paragraph
>         and the proposed solution paragraph.
I was making fun of myself not you for finding yet another problem  (ie that
"defendants" also contribute to the problem)  in my search for a
solution.  BTW I have never been accused of being too subtle, if I do
spank you you will know, if for no other reason because it will be a
private post.
> |>         Now, if the USA joined the rest of the civilized world and incorporat
> ed
> |>         a statute that required plaintiffs to pay the defendent's legal fees,
> |>         court costs, and other expenses incurred when the court finds for the
> |>         defense, more innocent defendents would opt for court and not the
> |>         settlement option.  As the loosing plaintiff would pay costs, and
> |>         not the malpractice insurance, the doc's premiums wouldn't go up,
> |>         and he wouldn't have any expense to pass to consumers.
> |
> |That's a good start, wonder how our resident shark feels about it?  Steve...
>         No, twenty lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean is
>         "a good start"--old lawyer joke punchline. ;-D
>         Other suggestions focus on changes to state laws.  Capping punitive
>         damage awards helps out, too.  A jury awarding millions in punitive
>         damages to a clutsy driver/McDonald's coffee drinker over and beyond
>         the damages awarded to pay medical bills is but one example where a
>         punitive damages cap would thwart the "screw the well-to-do" attitude
>         fired up in juries by lawyers on 30-40% contingency fees.
I can't remember the source but I thought I heard some aspects of this
case that made the verdict more reasonable.  Like, that McDonalds knew
ahead of time that their coffee was too hot, had other complaints yet did
not act.  In many instances, I have felt outraged by a silly outcome of
a court case only to find out later that there were facts that I was
unaware of that put the judgement in a reasonable light.  Another person on
this list once said that liberals must explore deep, dark corner of every
issue and that certainly applies to me.  (AKA: paralysis of analysis)
>         Another would be to drop the jointly and severally aspect of suits
>         that are out to tap "deep pockets," and adjudge liability for paying
>         damages commensurate with degree of fault.  If a party is "1% at
>         fault," then that party should be responsible for "1% of the damages."
>         You shouldn't be out of ideas on this--they should flow easily.  Just
>         place yourself in the shoes of a guilt-free professional
Sorry, but remember I'm in marketing  "guilt free professional" like
"business ethics" are not concepts I can grasp, I think it is a rule or
something.  (Just kidding ...please do not report that to the AMA)
  who is tied-
>         in jointly and severally to a lawsuit for millions of dollars, with
>         the plaintiff and his/her counsel salivating while eyeing your coverage
>         via malpractice insurance policy.  When personally faced with a shark
>         attack, ideas for "saving your skin" are the only ones you have!
I worry that many of these solutions are too limiting.  To borrow a
phase, and to re-spin the limits on awards argument:  Since the people
are too stupid to determine what is fair, the government will decide a
priori what can be the most fair in all cases.
>         Now imagine those currently paying for their care being on the
>         government dole.  You can appreciate the cost incurred within
>         your in-law's family.  Consider the cost of going nationwide.
First, when my wife was in the hospital giving birth we did not think of
it as being on the government dole anymore than you considered your wife
on the insurance dole.  These situations are analogous, we both paid our
insurance premiums and received the "entitled" care.  Second, the cost
here was 4X less (probably, based upon the MRI costs we discussed
earlier).  This would mean that if you all had the Cdn. system, you could
in theory cover 4X the number of people covered now without increasing
costs to you.
One thing I have gained from this discussion is that the Canadian style
system may not work in the US since it may harm the rugged individualism
that has made the US so great.  But, the freedom to have that rugged
individualism comes with some social costs, such as a lack of universal
health care.  More than money it would seem that this 'cost' should be the
focus of future health care debate.
>         Once health care is an entitlement, who's to say that "taking
>         a free ride" without responsible regard for one's lifestyle and
>         excesses wouldn't become the norm?
I don't think so, since as you pointed out in an earlier post, health
care has its limits.  Most of us fear death, I don't think many people
trade off smoking or other determental activity with the line "...and if
I do get (consequence) I can live in a hospital for the rest of my life,
die slowly, in pain, as my body falls apart - because, heck it is all paid
for by the government."  You earlier claimed that you had virtually 100%
coverage, do you have the urge to get up close and personal with a nuclear
reactor or perform some equally silly stunt since your hospital coverage will
be paid?  :)

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