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ParielIsBack View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ParielIsBack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2009 at 9:21am
Originally posted by ParielISBack ParielISBack wrote:

That completely ignores the cost of malpractice insurance for the many doctors who aren't sued for malpractice, or who don't have massive damages to pay in court.


Again, not litigation, insurance.  The cost of which skyrocketed throughout the 90's and costs some physicians (mostly those who work in their own office) hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Perhaps these doctors do have the ability to get ready of the their malpracticing brethren -- but I doubt it.  The people in suits who own hospitals and are interested in the bottom line will always sign them back when there is a shortage of doctors like today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter Parker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2009 at 11:16am
Originally posted by ParielIsBack ParielIsBack wrote:


Again, not litigation, insurance.
 
Again, yes - included.  How do you think that litigation gets paid for?  Insurance premiums, of course.  A combination of healthcare insurance, general liability insurance, and yes - malpractice insurance.  To a significant extent, malpractice insurance premiums are simply recycled litigation costs.
 
Generally speaking, insurance is not a systemic cost at all, simply a reallocation.  You don't get to count the litigation costs twice.
 
Quote   The cost of which skyrocketed throughout the 90's and costs some physicians (mostly those who work in their own office) hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
 
...so?  What's the revenue for those physicians?  Physicians in the US are, despite recent insurance increases, still among the professions with the very top NET income, and reliably so.  You have to look hard to find [post-res] physicians who are not living quite well, and mostly those do so by choice.
 
At least the malpractice cost is being partly allocated to people who can absorb the cost.  Random relevant source:  http://www.allied-physicians.com/salary_surveys/physician-salaries.htm 
 
And more importantly, since the malpractice premiums are to some extent simply recycled malpractice costs, who better to bear the cost than the physicians themselves?  Seems quite fair.

And here is an important economics concept for you:  the salary/fee/compensation of physicians is NOT primarily set by malpractice insurance premiums.  If malpractice insurance suddenly dropped by 20k across the board, would physician salaries also drop 20k to compensate?  No - because physician "price" is set by market demand, not by cost of living.  As you can see from my link above, there is plenty of wiggle room in physician income.
 
For most professions, there is an interplay between cost of living and market demand that determines price (salary/wage).  For some professions, compensation is set in large part by cost of living - unskilled labor is the extreme example (minimum wage rules aside).  For professions at the other end, price is set primarily by market demand.  These are the super-specialist professions:  movie star, NBA player, and, by and large, physicians.
 
And, at the end of the day, physicians are amply compensated.  Have you ever - EVER - heard anybody (in the US) say that they decided against medical school because they wouldn't make enough money as a doctor?
 
If we have a physician shortage (which is not necessarily the case), then that shortage is not caused by malpractice insurance premiums.  (I'll allow some exceptions for specialization selection, but even there it is pretty much a self-correcting problem.)
 
Bottom line is that the people complaining the loudest about the cost of malpractice insurance are PHYSICIANS.  Go figure.  But don't get sucked in by their hype.

Quote Perhaps these doctors do have the ability to get ready of the their malpracticing brethren -- but I doubt it.  The people in suits who own hospitals and are interested in the bottom line will always sign them back when there is a shortage of doctors like today.
 
Incorrect.  The ultimate power rests with the state licensing boards, which are usually staffed by physicians, or who at least are advised by physicians, and the AMA plays a big part here as well.  Pull a license and the doc is out of business.  The end.
 
It is very, very difficult to lose your medical license, for a variety of reasons - but the point is that in the end, physicians as a group have significant control over the process that allows malpracticing doctors to continue practicing, and yet there are KNOWN bad physicians out there who are allowed to continue, at the expense of our money and our lives.
 

"E Pluribus Unum" does not mean "Every man for himself".

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ParielIsBack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2009 at 12:47pm
So you don't think we would be able to pay our physicians less, and therefore decrease the cost of healthcare, by reducing malpractice insurance, or reducing it's cost to most physicians (ie: the one's who aren't getting sued all the time)?

That was my point.  Not that physicians need to make more money.  Also, note that the vast majority of physicians do not live far above the average, say, plumber, which isn't well spoken to by their average salary.

Perhaps physicians have some pull -- nonetheless, there's clearly some systematic reform, perhaps also outside of the tort system, that needs to happen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter Parker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2009 at 5:39pm
Originally posted by ParielIsBack ParielIsBack wrote:

So you don't think we would be able to pay our physicians less, and therefore decrease the cost of healthcare, by reducing malpractice insurance, or reducing it's cost to most physicians (ie: the one's who aren't getting sued all the time)?
 
No.  Because even if premiums went down, physicians' salaries would not go down.  There is plenty of price elasticity in physician salaries.  If premiums went down a whole lot it would probably partially trickle down eventually, but physician salaries are not driven by malpractice premiums any more than by the retail price of new 911s.

Quote Also, note that the vast majority of physicians do not live far above the average, say, plumber, which isn't well spoken to by their average salary.
 
What do you mean "live far above'?  And regardless, this makes little sense.  There are physicians who make modest incomes (government doctors, NGO doctors, etc.), but beyond that small group you have to look hard to find a doctor making less than $150k, and most make quite a bit more than that.
 
Medicine continues to be one of the most reliable paths to a decent amount of wealth.  If you are a poor doctor, you are almost certainly doing it on purpose.  Comparing physician income to plumber income is just silly.


Quote there's clearly some systematic reform, perhaps also outside of the tort system, that needs to happen.
 
Clearly.
 

"E Pluribus Unum" does not mean "Every man for himself".

Pop Quiz: What do all the Framers of the Constitution have in common?
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