Hits and Misses

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  1. Jenika says:

    Thousands of Georgia doctors lack medical-malpractice liability insurance

    Wow! These doctors will actually have to pay money out-of-pocket to their client if something goes wrong. Like the article says, EVERY practicing doctor with a medical license should have at least $1 million in medical-malpractice insurance.

    • John R. Graham says:

      What I would like to see is a state-by-state analysis of this, to see if there is a relationship between the proportion of physicians who are uninsured and the cost of med-mal insurance.

      For example, Texas has respnsible med-mal laws, attracting doctors to the state. Are they more likely to pay for coverage, as it would be more reasonably priced?

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    Shocker! Bernie Sanders, the only socialist in the U.S. Senate, wants to fix the VA by privatizing the provider network.

    That’s the dilemma. Fully integrated government health care systems lack the perverse incentives to overprovide unnecessary care; but they also lack the incentive to work to retain customers willing to pay for their services. Fragmented, for-profit fee-for-service systems have the perverse incentive to overprovide care. But private providers want to retain customers. A nonprofit (or for-profit) system wants to retain customers because it earns then a profit. There is a balance of incentives necessary to provide efficient care.

  3. David Blume says:

    Wow, even Bernie Sanders has some accurate thoughts about the socialized medical care of the VA system! Can you imagine what would happen if socialists actually proposed such common sense ideas BEFORE the perverse incentives of government-run health care actually started harming people?

    What is funny is that the ACA currently disincentivizes people from becoming doctors and seeking their own private insurance, and yet the socialist Bernie Sanders sees the need to increase the supply of doctors. Looks like Sen Sanders won’t be having a beer summit with Mr. Obama anytime soon.

  4. Mitch says:

    It sounds like the findings weren’t that conclusive on the drug that supposedly protects against infertility

  5. Matthew says:

    “Once-a-month injections of goserelin during chemotherapy could be a less expensive and easier alternative.”

    Yet again, advances in medicine lead to a cheaper and safer alternative than the previously available method. Drug innovations for the win!

  6. Bill B. says:

    “…including allowing veterans facing long delays to seek care outside the VA at a private office, military base or community health center, the AP reported.”

    Why they wouldn’t allow this in the first place is beyond me. Especially while facing the moral dilemmas of putting lives at risk by making secret waiting lists.

  7. James M. says:

    “Aetna will not turn down taxpayer bailout.”

    And why would they? They think they are entitled to it since they are providing taxpayers with “affordable care.”

    • Buddy says:

      “Bertolini tried to sidestep the issue with “a canned, wonky answer that talked about reinsurance provisions that had nothing to do with the question,”

      Politicians and insurance execs sound a lot alike.

    • John Fembup says:

      I think whether Aetna is eventually entitled to reinsurance funds will be because that’s the law. The law of the land in fact.

      Asking whether Aetna would turn down reinsurance if offered, is my idea of a dumb question. Bertolini was being polite not to be more direct. Besides, no one really knows the liabilities involved at this point – even if the enrollment were a known quantity, which I still doubt. No insurance company will make a commitment today about what they will do 3 years from now, when they probably aren’t sure yet what they will do this fall.

      • John R. Graham says:

        It looks like the questioner was focusing on the risk corridors, not reinsurance or risk adjustment. (These are the three “R’s” we’ve discussed at this blog.)

        There is a compelling legal argument that risk-corridor payments must be appropriated; i.e.that the Administration does not have the authority under the PPACA law to pay them without appropriations.

        Also, the risk corridors expire after three years. The questioner suspects that the insurer is preparing to lobby to have the program extended, and he wanted to expose that to daylight.

        • John Fembup says:

          “It looks like the questioner was focusing on the risk corridors, not reinsurance or risk adjustment.”

          John that may be true, I may have misread the questioner’s term “taxpayer bailouts.”

          If so, I would modify my preceding comment by substituting “risk corridors” for “reinsurance.”

          And if the corridors expire, that would change the terms insurers accepted when they decided to participate in the first place. Of course, the key is how the utilization experience will emerge over the next couple years. No one knows today how that will play out (and that is why I think Bertolini’s responses were careful, not necessarily evasive.)

          • John R. Graham says:

            Exactly: And you don’t become CEO of a listed company by getting pushed off script in the annual shareholders’ meeting. You keep all your options open.

  8. Devon Herrick says:

    Thousands of Georgia doctors lack medical-malpractice liability insurance.

    At first glance this sounds risky for the doctor. But it’s another strategy to avoid being sued. Form an LLC, contract with the LLC to provide medical care. Keep as much wealth in your house as you can, store accumulated wealth in retirement accounts that cannot be touched in bankruptcy court. If you’re sued, drag it out and then declare bankruptcy. Making your estate devoid of ready cash to pay malpractice claims reduces the temptation to view a doctor as an easy target for a lawsuit.