June 15th, 2009
11:47 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama may consider limits on medical malpractice suits

The AMA agrees with Obama on the need for health care reform but not how to go about it.
The AMA agrees with Obama on the need for health care reform but not how to go about it.

(CNN) – President Obama said Monday that limits on medical malpractice lawsuits could be a necessary part of overhauling the nation's ailing health care system.

In a speech to the 158th annual meeting of the American Medical Association, Obama cited the need for doctors to cut health care costs by reducing the number of unnecessary tests and procedures that are performed to reduce the risk of malpractice claims. Such reductions might require restrictions on malpractice liability to protect doctors, the president said.

"I'm not advocating caps on malpractice awards, which I personally believe can be unfair to people who've been wrongfully harmed, but I do think we need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first, how to let doctors focus on practicing medicine, how to encourage broader use of evidence-based guidelines," he said.

Obama also said that reforming health care requires changing the focus from the quantity of treatment to the quality of care.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter

    Fair is fair wrote: Randolph, to equate life expectancy in Canada and England with a government run healthcare system is quite narrowly focused – it fails to take diet, genetics, and a myriad of other factors into consideration. Surely you must agree. Having a nice, healthy day and hope you are as well!

    True enough. You know what they say: America, the country where even the poor people are obese. Have a nice day!

    June 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. gayle, ca

    For all of you saying we have the best health care system in the world, how do you explain that we rank 30th in life expectancy? Behind almost EVERY country with a public health care plan?

    How can you defend profit off illness?

    June 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Super D

    Obama deserves some rough treatment from the AMA. They certainly know better than he does. And if the AMA is against it. It's probably a very stupid idea.

    health care is not a right. Btw....

    worried about health care? go buy some insurance. If you can't afford the insurance, got to ditch the fancy cell phone, car, clothes, all the other luxuries you have. That is, if it is that important to you.

    btw, there is the Medicare/Medicaid options that already exist.

    and lastly, got to say it another time because it's so relevant.

    "Don't like your healthcare? Just wait until it's free"

    June 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Ynot

    I work for a healthcare company and trust me, there needs to be an overhaul. I'm hearing all this critcism but no solutions...Republicans?

    June 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Jack

    Does anyone really believe that pandering to the deeply vested interests in the current health mis-care network is going to evolve into a viable, reformed, patient oriented system? Reform will not work. The entire national system must be redesigned (and not just health care), but the associated uncertainty of outcome will prevent political consensus. Let's face it – political survivability is not promoted by taking risks.

    June 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Enough

    Ya think Doctors want to become Government employees??

    June 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Insurance companies have the biggest buildings in any town or city, and they run more ads on TV than all else.

    How do they pay for it? Profit from OUR premiums. Time to get a handle on how much we are forced to pay.

    June 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Lisa, Laughlin NV

    I would like more specific facts before I blame Republicans for being spectical. I am a 53 year old breast cancer survivor and want to make sure that I would really be able to keep my health insurance. What if my employer decides it is to expensive for them to keep helping pay my insurance? What if they tell us go sign up for the Public Government Run Insurance? Then what? I have heard nothing from my party (dems) to answer these questions so lets stop playing dems vs repub. Let's be Americans concerned about our health and wanting what is in the best interest for the many not just for the rich and the few.

    One more thing I think that my party needs to stop doing is blaming Bush for everything. Our party has been in the majority in Congress for 2+ years and it seems we have solved absolutely nothing. The POTUS is Barack Obama not George Bush. Problems need to be solved by President Obama.

    June 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Expat American

    Randolph Carter June 15th, 2009 12:17 pm ET
    True enough. You know what they say: America, the country where even the poor people are obese. Have a nice day!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I love it! I love it! Randolph Carter, you took the words right out of my mouth....Cheers!

    June 15, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Rob

    Randolph Carter June 15th, 2009 11:56 am ET – And what are your sources for that? Why is it then that when anyone in Canada or England really need some type of medical procedure they come to the US to get it done? Yeah, I want to be involved in a health plan like those two places, where I can wait in line for major surgery and die before I get it. And with it being run by the same braintrusts behind AMTRAK, Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare, ooh boy doggie, that's efficiency. I bet you Obama and his family, as well as the rest of the libs will still get their own 'special' healthcare services.

    Maybe instead of going after the doctors you should go after the lawyers who feel it's OK to sue for anything and everything that may go wrong with regards to healthcare. But you'll never do that, too many of them contribute to Democrats.

    June 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. gov't run healthcare for congress

    I would like to have the same health care plan that members of Congress have, and don't pay a dime for. That is government-run and tax payer funded... I don't hear Congress members complaining.

    June 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. RobK

    There are only two ways to reduce costs: limit what doctors, pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers can charge, or limit what services and drugs patients can get. That's it. Any plan that doesn't include one of those and claims to reduce costs is nonsense. And Obama isn't mentioning either. His plan is to pay for increasing health care costs by taxing the rich (and middle class).

    June 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Mike

    obama knows private enterprise cannot compete with the government so that would eliminate our private insurance. This way the government can dictate coverage with no competition, raise taxes more to pay for the illegals then a blanket citizenship will be given to the illegals.

    June 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Debby

    Good luck Obama if you think Doctors especially surgeons will go for socialist health care.

    June 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. ghost

    I can understand the republicans arguement about the govt. crushing private insurance. However, that is not totally true. Private comapnies will have to step their game up. A public option is probably gonna be terrible. I say make it so that those less fortunate will have something. Even if they have a deductable and co-pays (which actually perform a decent function).

    We do also need to discuss malpractice suits. Part of the reason for high healthcare costs is the insurance they have to pay for themselves.

    lastly, we can't we import drugs again?

    June 15, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. mjm

    There are plenty of affordable plans out there right now that people can use.

    They choose not to.

    Medicaid is out there for people to use if they can't afford private insurance.

    There is no need to expand the government's roll in health care unless it's tort reform.

    June 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. RobK

    How about fraud? The bigger the company the more likely that fraud will slip through. What percentage of the health care budget will the government be dedicating to fraud prevention? What incentive does the government have to reduce costs and prevent fraud? None, they just raise taxes.

    June 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. C White

    We definately need health care reform. Where do the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies get the money for their TV ads? From the taxpayers of course. Get these ads off the television!

    June 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. J

    Skeptical? Or Bough and paid for AMA

    June 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. phoenix86

    If people have time to properly study the health care proposals, they will be rejected. Thus the push from the dems to rush a bill through.

    Insurance companies watched Obama ruin Detroit and ignore US laws without reprecusions from Congress. They are trying to protect themselves now.

    Doctors and patients have no such luck. The US has the best health care in the world. That will end with the Obama administration.

    Obama is a fool.

    June 15, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. RobK

    Most of the new drugs and medical advances in other countries come from the United States. We are subsidizing their health care. Why are drugs cheaper in Canada? Because the Canadian government won't allow the drug companies to charge whatever they want. So the drug companies charge the U.S. consumers more to make up the difference.

    June 15, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Citizen from NY

    I am just curious, these other countries that have socialized healthcare....don't they have to wait longer for treatment if it is non-emergent? Don't they also have higher overall taxes to fund socialized healthcare? So if Obama overhauls our health system similar to socialized medicine, why would it be better if I have to wait longer to see a doctor and get treated, and pay higher taxes to boot?

    June 15, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Carlos

    It is just a good thing he's not going to raise anybody taxes the makes less than 250k, and if you dum dems still believe that I got some beach front property in Kansas for you.

    June 15, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Enough

    Mississippi Mike – It's called more taxes!! Obama will pay for all this by creating NEW taxes for everyone who currently pays taxes, that way he won't be "raising" taxes. The middle class will soon be the poverty level. Then who will pay for all the newly poor in this country?

    June 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. John

    Capitalism is not going to Work in America any More. Health Care needs to be taken over by the Government. Nothing on Earth can Save these Banks and Real Estate Lenders. All the Bail-Out Money will be a Waste and go down the Gutter.

    I hope good sense prevails on the Feds. Real Estate prices were Superfluously hiked, as a result of Speculation. Now the Balloon has bursted. America’s Net worth is down by 15 Trillion Dollars. American’s are Poorer by 15 Trillion Dollars. American Auto, Steel and Textile Industries are Bankrupt.

    These Banks must fail. America needs Nationalized Banking and More Regulated Banking. Capitalism is not going to work any more in America, because the Wall Street is full of Rascals. Wall street and Bank of America Executives, take vacation in Hawaii, Private Jet Rides and Bonuses out of the Bail-Out Money. AIG Executives are a bunch of Scammer and Crooks. AIG is full of Unqualified and Unprofessional Thugs.

    June 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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