June 15th, 2009
11:47 AM ET
9 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. Lisa, Laughlin NV


    Medicaid is available to those who are 200% below the poverty level.

    I know this because my husbands job cut his hours in half and his status is considered part-time. Now we never were rich. We averaged $55,000 per year. We will now gross about $33,000 per year. The Medicaid amount is based on number in household so we only had the 2 of us. You can't make about $21,750.

    If I added him onto my insurance plan, I would have to pay another $300 per month and my deductible would go up to $2,000.

    So Medicaid isn't necessarily the answer if you can't afford health coverage.

    June 15, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    I hope the health care fix works out better than the auto industry fix or the banking industry fix or the jobless rate fix or the foreign policy fix or...

    June 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Dont blame me

    Decreasing Medicare payments to hospitals, as Obama is suggesting, is what almost cost us and and near by town to lose our hospitals. Another neighboring town did lose their clinic because of poor Medicare payments.

    Medicare payments are PATHETIC as it is and Obama wants to reduce them more????

    This is shear LUNACY.

    And the numbers that the left are using are filled with lies.

    Of the 46 million that are said to be uninsured, about 20 million of those are illegals, another 10 -12 million make $70,000 plus per year who opt not to get insurance.

    That leaves only about 14 million US citizens that "might" need insurance.

    If Obama plans on using OUR TAX dollars to cover Illegal aliens in this country then he needs to pack his bags and LEAVE.

    June 15, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Doug

    People should be able TO OPT OUT of any new program created. The debate is always that employers provide this so most people have some form of insurance, people who are out of work will not pay for it because of it's higher costs and no money for this. O like Hillary justs wants to send bills to everybody whether you can pay or not. I say no thank you, send me the job instead.

    June 15, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Carl

    Heath Care – Inspite of being one of the best health care systems in
    the world, why do we still have thousands and thousands of people who get staph infections? One source stated that in NY alone, 190 people died, yes died from the infection. That begs a question – how many other hospitals
    w/in the US of A, suffer the same issue??

    June 15, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    The French have the #1 rated system in the world. Just give us what they have and forget all this bickering.

    June 15, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Lori's figured out that Pheonix86 & Obama Victim are the same person! LOL!

    Go get 'em Mr. President. While our politicans enjoy excellent health care plans, there are many Americans who go bankrupt each year because they cannot afford their health care. Godspeed!

    June 15, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Carl

    A correction to my post. Change 190 to 190,000 infections.


    June 15, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Joe

    If the intent of a government health insurance "option" is to create more competition and reduce costs, why not eliminate the restrictions for buying health insurance across state lines? that would create competition without govt intervention.

    IMHO, the govt option looks like another Obama mechanism to increase the power of washington and redistribute what little wealth we have left.

    June 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. RobK

    I am all for a public health care option, as long as the costs are contained. For example, the plan only pays for generic drugs or non-generic if the cost is less than $1/dose. Surgeries limited to 4 a year with a maximum charge of $10,000/surgery. $1,000/year for checkups. Feel free to fill out the restrictions.

    June 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Ken

    Republican Health Plan: Do nothing. Trot out press releases. Keep saying "we're number one!" Obfuscate. Say the word "socialism" a lot, knowing what they really mean is communism. Trot out platitudes about needing health care reform. Continue to take money by all those vested in the status quo. Do nothing. Pretend there is no problem. Offer no real solutions.

    Do not have the courage to say what they really mean: You are on your own. We, as a society, owe you nothing. If you can't pay, then move on. If you need medicine you can't afford, then just die. We have ours, and quite frankly, people, we don't care what happens. See, all we have to do, all we have done, is criticize others for trying. Socialism! Bad for the (really "our") economy. Did I say socialism! Do nothing.

    June 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Dave from Jacksonville

    To Rob..... THEY DON'T!!! Its just another of Rush's lies!!! Check it out yourself and quit listening to talk radio!

    June 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Patrick

    I see a lot of people ranting against public health care. It is the profit motive that makes private health insurance expensive. The very competition that is supposed to drive down costs actually increases them due to the duplication of payment systems.

    Private insurance companies are NOT worthy of pitty in this because it is their greed that has driven up the cost of health care in this country.

    And for all the people that say that they can pay for whatever problems they have without insurance, really, you can't. We won't hear you say that you tried it and declared bankruptcy, because that goes against the party line, but that's what will happen. Very few families in the US have those kinds of savings prepared for unforeseen expenses.

    June 15, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Minnesotan

    "Republican leaders adamantly oppose any public option, complaining it will lead to an eventual government takeover of health care similar to the cradle-to-grave coverage in Canada and England." This health care option would be GREAT! That's probably why the Evil Republicans don't want it. Why do Republicans hate America?

    June 15, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Randolph Carter

    Carl, you think Stapf is bad, you should try getting C. Difficile. Nasty stuff. Have a nice day!

    June 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Moderate Democrat

    I don't get it. It will be an OPTION. And if the "Private Insurers" are truely doing such a FANTASTICALLY WONDERFUL SUPERIOR JOB WITH OUT FLAWS OR MORAL BANKRUPTCY, then they shouldn't feel threatened.

    Only if they are being total dirt bags and charging too much for too little, then they SHOULD be put out of business. And I'm ok with the government putting them out of business if they can't stand a little "Competition". I mean, whats to fear if the product they offer is so superior and not over priced?

    June 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. ArtNYC

    Medcaid worked out so well that we need to socialize all of the healthcare. Get ready for higher taxes everyone and a mediocre healthcare system.

    June 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. skyhawkdriver

    I invite everyone to take a minute and google some of the largest insurance companies..than take a look at the board of directors..you may or may not be suprised at the names you see..mrs chris dodd..senator judd gregg..the kennedy family..senator orrin hatch..what the administration is attempting to do is snowball everyone..are we actually going to be suckered in to thinking the government can run a healthcare program??..how much do the members of congress pay for their health care program??..and if they supposedly work for us why don't we have the same health care ??..because ladies and gentleman we are the second class..we who work are asked to support a government whose last care in the world are it's citizens..there is no way that health care in this country is going to change..it will cost the insurance companies and the a.m.a. Billions of dollars in government hand outs and payoffs to elected members of congress and their spouses

    June 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    We simply cannot continue to have employer based heath insurance. It is a ball and chain around the necks of American businesses. I'm surprised the Republicans do not support a single payer system. It would take the pressure of their real constituency, big business. Just think of it as corporate welfare. Well I suppose they would rather not have any health insurance at all, then we don't have to worry about all those pesky poor people living very long.

    June 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. fed up

    With our government's stellar and long record of massive overspending on programs, lax controls, bureaucratic inertia, and layers upon layers of useless and conflicting rules, they have all the qualifications to deliver the world's highest quality health care more efficiently and cost effectively than anyone.

    June 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Lori tellsGOP that u can be ideologically conservative & be a Dem (A.A & Hispanic voters)! Doesn't mean ur Republican!

    Mr. President, we need reform and we need it now!

    June 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. JonDie

    No way will the Republican Party and its sponsors, the big insurance companies, the giant hospital corporations and the megapharmaceutical companies allow health reform to go further.

    There is far too much money to be made fleecing the working American consumer/taxpayer within keeping the mostly minority-based underclass poorer and unhealthier than ever (the race aspect of the GOP agenda).

    The GOP position can be summed up as follows: 1) Nothing is wrong, therefore, 2) nothing needs to be done, therefore, the GOP position is simply, No.

    June 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    I forgot to mention, the U.S. is rated #37. For those who think we have a good or better system, you need to get your head out of the sand. There are 36 countries who do a better job of providing healthcare for their citizens.

    June 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    @ Ken in Pisgah Forest June 15th, 2009 12:47 pm ET

    The French have the #1 rated system in the world. Just give us what they have and forget all this bickering.

    Rated by who?!?! It is second rate and a financial disaster. We do not need their problems on top of what we have now. That goes for the Canadian poor excuse for a health care system, too.

    June 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Pam

    Plenty of affordable health plans out there?
    I think not!
    When you are paying over $300 a month for a family health plan, and then must cover the first $5000 out of your own pocket before the plan kicks in... is that considered affordable?
    When senior citizens must choose between buying their prescriptions or eating, is that considered affordable?
    Everyone is entitled to health care, regardless of their income. This is where President Obama is coming from and I agree!

    June 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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