Or… To The Medical Malpractice Insurance Industry: “Liar, liar, pant on fire!”
I’ve talked before about the power of Orwellian propaganda over the (apparently) undisciplined and lazy American mind that listens to whatever it likes the sound of, but doesn’t “fact-check” anything, anymore. Americans that have “gone red” on one issue, tend to “go full red” on all issues, which means that most of the time, most Americans are voting against their own interests when they vote for candidates that are pro-limitations on lawsuits, pro-removal of accountability for wrongdoers, pro-employer, pro-corporate America, pro-pharmaceuticals and pro-big medicine.
One of the things people like to talk about – not that they know any of the accurate facts, but that’s never stopped an American “opinion holder” before – is the medical malpractice “crisis.” They’ve heard about this on conservative talk radio and Fox News. They’re heard about it from their doctors. They’ve heard about it at conservative gatherings and from conservative newsletters and groups.
It is, of course, all bullshit.
The Washington Post recently published a story debunking the “myth” of a medical malpractice “crisis” as entirely fabricated by – guess who – the medical malpractice insurance industry, which just doesn’t like paying out on claims, whether it’s fair or not.
What a business proposition: pay me money, and I’ll give you nothing in return.
Of course, top Republicans scream and rant about the “crisis” because they’re told to by their pay masters: the pharmaceutical industry, big medicine, the Federal Chamber of Commerce and the insurance industry. Then again, these are the same men and women that think forced arbitration is good, preemption of individual rights is good, “conservative values” and “anti-worker” policies are good, etc.
Obviously, President Trump has tapped into the worst enemy of victims of medical malpractice he could have. His administration will be perfectly willing to continue to spread the lie that “frivolous” lawsuits are driving up medical malpractice premiums and forcing doctors (the poor dears!) out of business. Doctors and hospitals live in fear of litigation, they say, ordering excessive tests and treatments that make healthcare unaffordable.
Yet according to researchers and industry experts, the reality doesn’t match the bullshit. They say the nation’s medical malpractice insurance industry is running just fine and has not been in crisis for quite some time. “It’s a wonderful time for doctors looking for coverage, and it’s never been better for insurers, “says Michael Marty, Editor of Medical Liability Monitor, a trade publication. In fact, doctors are paying less for medical malpractice insurance then they did in 2001 (15 years ago!) even without adjusting for inflation, according to the “Doctors’ Company” one of the nation’s largest malpractice insurers. And the rate of claims has also dropped by 50% since 2003. Yet despite the rhetoric of loud and obnoxious doctors who have been manipulated by the AMA and the insurance industry, and the GOP stooges who follow the party line, academics and consumer advocates correctly point out that the attention should be on preventing medical errors and increasing accountability and protecting victims, not trying to fatten the already enormously fat purses of the insurance industry.
None of the current proposals – and you can bet none of any future proposals by this Congress or by this President – will address that issue. They will just continue to scream about a “crisis” that doesn’t exist based upon the math, about lost profits, about doctors being driven from the practice, and other lies, in order to dupe and fool their voter base into continuing to support people, practices and policies that in no way are good for them or for their families.