One of the largest correctable healthcare expenses is the cost of defensive medicine necessitated by the threat of malpractice suits. Doctors order many unnecessary tests, including MRIs and CT scans, because of this ever-present threat that no other country has. It is estimated that this increases healthcare costs by between 20 percent and 25 percent. That is half a trillion dollars wasted.
The trial attorneys will lie and say that this problem only costs 2 percent to 3 percent of healthcare costs, but they only consider the cost of malpractice insurance and judgment awards, ignoring the defensive medicine costs.
Healthcare dollars have to pay doctors, nurses, hospitals, hospital workers, etc., but not malpractice lawyers. They need to be cut out of the system. All other countries seem to do fine without them, and we always hear that their care is better than ours.
Another slice of the healthcare-dollars pie is consumed by managed-care companies and HMOs. They have a huge, bloated overhead expense of endless supervisors, managers, committees and lavishly overpaid CEOs that suck up 15 percent to 20 percent of gross, compared to Medicare, which has overhead of 5 percent to 6 percent. These two items need to be corrected.
I have been in medical practice in Miami-Dade County since the late 1960s, before and after HMOs and runaway malpractice suits, and I have seen the changes.
Ira S. Jacobson, M.D.,