This article is from the New York Times, and describes a pilot program by the White House to study medical malpractice claims. Perhaps the money would be better spent studying the causes of medical malpractice itself, and studying the profits earned by insurance carriers who charge enormous premiums for medical malpractice insurance. Here are excerpts from the article:
The White House took the first steps on Thursday toward setting up demonstration projects intended to explore solutions to a problem that many doctors say is driving up health care costs: exorbitant malpractice claims and sky-high premiums for liability insurance.
President Obama directed the Department of Health and Human Services to announce within 30 days that it would begin accepting proposals from states, localities and various health organizations for demonstration projects that would improve patient safety and doctor-patient communication, ensure timely payments to injured patients, and reduce insurance liability premiums for providers. The department intends to give out a total of $25 million, in grants of up to $3 million each, for projects that could run as long as three years.
Between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year from medical errors, the administration says. “This is an area where we know we can do better,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said. While malpractice premiums count for only a small percentage of total medical costs, she said, many doctors acknowledge that they practice defensive medicine — performing more tests and procedures than may be needed so as to minimize the odds of being successfully sued — which drives up costs.