Medical Malpractice

by Russ Roberts on May 31, 2006

in Health, Podcast

My latest podcast is up at EconTalk, a conversation with colleage and blogging champ Alex Tabarrok on medical malpractice, insurance costs and a new idea for a TV show, American Victim.

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{ 6 comments }

John Booke June 4, 2006 at 8:32 pm

Aren't "medical malpractice awards" higher today because physicians are stretching the limits of there ability to save lives? They use "technology" as an excuse for saving lives that in fact would not have be saved 25 years ago. Specfically "malpractice awards" have skyrocketed because OB/GYNs constantly lower the bar on the limits of prematurity. Hosptials approve because "neonatal" intensive care units are significant profit centers.

MJ July 7, 2006 at 1:13 pm

Interesting podcast, but I was a bit disappointed at the way Prof. Tabarrok dodged your question about why doctors don't respond to contested judicial elections by counterbalancing the contributions of the plaintiff's bar. He changed the subject to national pharmaceutical companies, and explained that they cannot make contributions in every county in the nation.

Doctors, however, are local, are wealthier than lawyers, and are also more numerous than plaintiff's lawyers, who represent a relatively small fraction of all lawyers. They are also politically more popular than lawyers. They have every incentive to participate in these elections and should wield more influence than the "trial lawyers."

In fact, physicians are very politically influential, and have managed to get tort reform, and medical malpractice reform, legislation passed in many states. I do not think that Prof. Tabarrok's political explanations hold water. The clout of those opposed to large jury awards (medical providers and hospitals, large corporations, insurance companies) is far greater than that of proponents (essentially, just plaintiffs' lawyers).

I agree that the increasing hospitality of the courts to large tort awards in the last few decades is driven by social and economic forces rather than by an evolution of purely legal doctrine, but I have not yet seen any convincing explanations of what those forces might be.

bacreditote August 7, 2007 at 1:46 pm

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Acidophilus Yeast Infection January 8, 2008 at 6:04 pm

I've never trusted prescription drugs much–the bottom line fuels the drug companies more than a desire to create useful drugs :)

Online Doctor April 30, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Lawyers vs. Doctors….can't we all get along…

medical_malpractice_lawyer September 30, 2009 at 8:39 am

I’ll back again for sure, thanks for great article :D

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