The Right Way to Do Medical Malpractice Reform
Posted at 8:45 a.m. on Feb. 28
Peter Orszag argues that if we are looking to bend the health care cost curve and improve the long-term budget outlook, lawmakers should look at medical malpractice reform.
“Improving the criteria for what constitutes appropriate care could significantly change doctors’ behavior and also save money… a doctor can be considered guilty of malpractice if he or she fails to follow customary practice. This is a nebulous concept, however, that only pushes doctors to look around and mimic what their peers seem to be doing.”
“A slightly higher or lower liability limit in a given state doesn’t have that much effect because doctors are still influenced by customary practice. Yet the missing piece is… a safe harbor, under the medical- malpractice laws, for doctors who follow evidence-based guidelines published by medical associations… Basically, then, a patient would not be allowed to sue for malpractice if the doctor could show that he or she was following a best-practice guideline.”