The American Medical Association has been hard pressed to find a Democrat who is willing to listen to doctors and their desire for immunity from malpractice suits, until now. In a recent private interview with the new chief of staff, the association has found that Obama may be willing to consider protecting doctors faced with malpractice cases. Obama has been considering restricting malpractice lawsuits as a part of health care reform, even though there is no evidence that significant cost savings can be had from limiting patient’s rights to sue for injuries caused by medical malpractice.
Although Obama faces losing some Democratic support with this move, it may also turn out to be an effective way to keep the interest of both doctors and Republicans. Obama has not approved a limit to malpractice jury compensation to victims, he has done previous work on trying to lessen the suits. Obama has mentioned that he may be willing to provide some liability protection to doctors who follow appropriate guidelines but experience a mishap with a patient. This position makes sense because courts normally do not hold hospitals and physicians liable unless they violate the standard of care. The supposed problem of too many medical negligence suits is not real, as cutting off consumers’ access to justice really does not affect medical expense, the cost of insurance premiums for doctor’s malpractice policies, or availability of care as shown by numerous studies.