Obama Open to Keeping Docs from Getting Smacked Up

As the health care reform discussion continues, President Obama may consider curbing malpractice suits brought against doctors...

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Facing opposition over his proposed public health insurance alternative, President Obama is trying to maintain some leverage in the discussion by considering lessening the amount of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Attempting to woo doctors and conservatives alike, the president feels that lowering the number of malpractice suits could have a positive effect on driving down health care costs for all Americans. Reports the New York Times:

"Mr. Obama has not endorsed capping malpractice jury awards, as did his predecessor, President George W. Bush. But as a senator, he advanced legislation aimed at reducing malpractice suits. And Dr. J. James Rohack, the incoming president of the medical association, said Mr. Obama told him at a meeting last month that he was open to offering some liability protection to doctors who follow standard guidelines for medical practice.

“If everyone is focused on saying, ‘How do we get rid of unnecessary costs,’ ” Dr. Rohack said, recounting the conversation, “if we as physicians are going to say, ‘Here’s our guidelines, we will follow them,’ then we need to have some protections. He listened and he said, ‘Clearly, that concept is worthy of discussion.’ ”

The move is, of course, not without its detractors:

"[T]he president’s ideas on health reform are facing mounting criticism — not only from the A.M.A. and Republicans, who also vehemently oppose a new public plan, but also from the hospital industry, which is up in arms over a proposal Mr. Obama announced on Saturday to pay for his health care overhaul in part by cutting certain hospital reimbursements."

The health care crisis is truly tricky. Is Obama on the right track? What are your suggestions for health care reform that benefits all Americans?

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