Posted by maguro_01, a resident of Mountain View, on Apr 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm
There are times when jury awards seem outrageous, but most often they are not. There is a problem out there. The medical insurance system is another - someone in a accident may require expensive medical care for years but tends to get kicked out of the insurance system and employment. The story below is about the delivery system, however.
"Secrecy shields medical mishaps from public view
Cathleen F. Crowley, Eric Nalder, Hearst Newspapers
Richard Flagg drowned in his blood.
Stanley Stinnett choked on his vomit.
Both were victims of the leading cause of accidental death in America - mistakes made in medical care.
Experts estimate that 98,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year. More Americans die each month of preventable medical injuries than died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Meanwhile, a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study concluded that an additional 99,000 patients a year succumb to hospital-acquired infections. Almost all of those deaths, experts say, also are preventable.
Ten years ago, a highly publicized federal report called the death toll shocking and challenged the hospital industry to cut it in half.
The report also called for a mandatory nationwide reporting system for medical errors. That never happened.
Sometimes our political ideas can lead us all right out of the real world, especially now that the center has apparently been cleared out. The world is too messy for monolithic axiomatic schemes, especially since such schemes always disregard human primate behavior.
While I have misgivings about cap and trade, Walter's paragraph misrepresents it, and misrepresents single-payer medical schemes entirely to the point of dissembling.
Single-payer medical schemes around the developed world are under heavy cost pressures because of low birth rates and aging populations. That affects any medical scheme and is a fundamental problem extending well beyond medical care. Canada, whose life expectancy is 3 years longer than the US, is trying to bail out its medical care system and economy with a points-based mass immigration scheme. The US has effectively done the same thing without a point system and in a context of undeveloping itself. Medical care doesn't exist in a vacuum.
A problem our medical care system has in the US is that it drives people out of the workplace prematurely and tries to drive people who use a lot of medical services out of the workplace altogether. It also severely disadvantages Main Street and disadvantages US business doing export. That unsustainable 17% and growing of our GDP put into the medical care system - over 4% into "insurance" - is helping to sink us. That 4+% shows us, by the way, that our medical insurance system is not a free market and it's because of our pay to play political system. Going forward it never can be; abolishing state lines and the like wouldn't even cause a blip in soaring rates. Insurance company policies and pay to play politics are making more medical costs pure transfer payments which Conservatives then reflexively complain about.
A medical care system paid for by everyone but used by a decreasing part of the population is a nonstarter and would destabilize the society. So would a Libertarian scheme where people die in net worth order which isn't yet technically possible anyway.
I don't hear anything about attacking the medical cost drivers like cancer and obesity/diabetes/cardiovascular diseases/cancer which are apparently disorders of excess to a large degree over a much lower background rate.
Technical progress and innovation should make major progress in coping with medical care costs and would be exportable. Measures like taxing sugar, fructose, trans-fats, etc like cigarettes and putting the proceeds into a single payer scheme would help considerably but be susceptible to our pay to play political system. A single payer scheme over private delivery is proven much cheaper beyond question, can preserve real innovation, and is isolated from the rest of government and transparent. Or at least is easier to isolate from pay to play politics than our present or soon to be system.