22 March 2009

Medical Malpractice reform under Obama?

Don't count on it.

Open Left:: Obama's Donor Base--A Reminder By Industry
Rank Industry Total
  1. Retired $44,524,860.00
  2. Lawyers/Law Firms $42,861,936.00
  3. Education $22,342,123.00
  4. Misc Business $15,457,514.00
  5. Securities & Investment $14,442,282.00
  6. Health Professionals $11,532,962.00
Source: Open Secrets.

Though perhaps I'm being too nihilistic here. McCain's list looked pretty similar -- though the numbers are much lower due to his decision to funnel most of his campaign contributions through the RNC. Perhaps the real take-home message is that lawyers and their lobbies are better organized and better funded that the physician lobbies, and that lawyers are more politically engaged. That was certainly our experience a few years ago in our state, when we tried to get med mal reform passed via initiative. The local ATLA affiliate ran rings around us in fundraising, and though our polling looked good for tort reform, after the lawyers' lobby saturated the airwaves with misleading ads, the initiative failed by a narrow margin.

I should point out that every time I mention ACEP or the AMA on this blog, I get a comment or an email from a doc who complains that they "don't represent me" and so they will never belong to it. To which I say, fine, that is your prerogative, but the consequence is neutered advocacy groups with very little clout in the nation's and states' capitols.

Bottom line: if physicians want to be better represented in policy and politics, we need to be better funded, better organized, and better engaged.


  1. Lawyers also higher due to higher pay. I know many of those health professional donations that came from nurses, who aren't nearly so well funded as lawyers. (myself included)

    Having said that, as a staunch advocate for professional nursing association involvement, I totally hear your points on the need to join and be active.

  2. Surprisingly, the "average" lawyer is paid less than the "average" doctor, according to Dept of Labor statistics. I still find that hard to believe, but that's what the technocrats say. I wonder if there's an "average-median" effect causing that, but I don't know. Lawyers do get paid better than the average nurse, though. :)

  3. There are a lot of struggling lawyers out there who went to crappy 8th tier law schools and who barely passed the bar. They open small practises and take crappy little cases that pay little. The thing is that there are also A LOT of lawyers who rake it in hand over fist. Doctors may have a higher average but the mean for lawyers and the range is much greater.

  4. Lawyers are paid far less than doctors, thank you very much. And if you check federal gummint salaries (http://www.opm.gov), the pay for lawyers isn't necessarily that much (if any) more than for nurses.

  5. Oh, and did a little research: median salaries for doctors and median salaries for lawyers. No idea how accurate this information is.

  6. Well, if he is serious, he should be able to speed up the processing of lawsuits, most today are being prolonged by a our court system.

    One example is the recent update about the case of Luis Berrios. The said lawsuit have been filed more than a decade ago. The hospital being sued already declared bankrupt that just made the situation more complicated and time-consuming.

    According to Jeffrey Lichtman, a senior partner of Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman law firm in New York, explains his points about this,

    "This is another tragic medical malpractice case that has been prolonged by our court system. An already paralyzed man was put through tremendous torture because doctors took the law in their hands. This paraplegic was pulled from his wheelchair, handcuffed to a hospital bed, and then forced to consume dangerous levels of laxatives for 27 hours. " Continue reading his blog - New York Bronx Medical Malpractice

  7. The reform bill may prove out to be beneficial for victims suffering from doctor’s negligence but what I came to about it is that the Republican Party has spent the past several months serving as vocal opposition to the healthcare reform bills supported by the Barack Obama administration and Democratic members of Congress. During that time, they have seen success in influencing public opinion. However, many were frustrated that Republicans hadn't offered their own plan. Surely they didn't believe that the health insurance system in the U.S. is perfect the way it is? Well, the wait is over. Senate Minority Leader John Boehner has acknowledged the public's demand for an alternative with the debut of the GOP's healthcare reform bill. Obviously, a party that has disagreements with most parts of the Democrats' bills in the House of Representatives and Senate has written a significantly different bill. For more information visit Clinical Negligence .

  8. I think this is very popular news. I have read a lot of blogs about this. I also watched some news about this. This is such a very important issue that we all should participate.


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