June 15th, 2009
11:47 AM ET
5 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. Barb

    I just don't get it.....

    I read so much on these comments against Canadian health care... – horrors... Hey guys.... don't knock what you don't know!....

    Our health care system, here in Canada, is great!!!. Sure we pay for it in our general taxes.... but basically we pay no more in taxes than you do in the U.S. – and still you have to pay through the nose for coverage.

    Here are a few FACTS... not the garbage commericals being aired on your TV, paid for, I'm sure by insurance companies:

    ... there is NO exclusions for pre-existing conditions
    ....our doctors are skillful, up to date, and yes... you can go to which ever doctor you wish
    ....there are no monthly premiums
    ....you will not lose everything for a catastrophic illness
    ....queues for service are usually for ELECTIVE procedures
    ....I, personally, have been treated for serious illness, promptly, completely and with no cost to me.
    ...I have been in the States nearly every winter, made friends with Americans and have been blown away at how much it costs them monthly for heath insurance... PLUS a co-pay.

    Please don't knock our health system as a way to turn away health reform. We have it... I love it... and you need to know more about us and our system before you can judge

    June 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. RealityKing

    I pay $3200 a year for my family plan, dential included. And thats for the best healthcare system in the world!

    So please Will. Get off you progressively paid horse and meet some non-koolaid drinking folks from Ameirca.

    June 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. S Callahan

    I think the idea of private health co ops are the way to go.
    We don't want another mess like the stimulus that was suppose to help the unemployed leaving them (the pubic) in a worse off situation (see $25 increase left unemployed without access (eligible) to food stamps..esentially leaving them poorer than before the increase).

    June 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. demwit

    Everybody needs to wise up and get a government job. You pay almost nothing for healthcare.., especially elected office.

    June 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Marc

    to Four and The Door June 15th, 2009 12:58 pm ET
    whom about the following post:

    '@ 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.'
    said:
    '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.'

    Actually it's the World Health Organization that says that, based on information given by both the governments of all the countries affiliated to the United Nations and independent sources. Since the WHOLE world (and remember, that includes teh United States of America) do have a positive opinion of the accuracy of their statetements, documents and policies, the W.H.O. is a reliable source of information about anything related to health in the world.
    Whose lunatic rants you heard and used as a source to qualify the Fench and Canadian health systems so poorly as you did is another matter, get your facts straight next time dude.

    June 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. G SMITH PA

    The USA has the best health care in the world. Just say no to Obama Health Care, it will cost you. Our Health Care isn't perfect, but a few minor adjustments and to increase competition by getting rid of the Employers responsiblity and more to the Individuals will decrease the cost of Health Insurance.

    June 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Hugo

    Why wont Obama address tort law reform? Isn't the overwhelming cost attributable to healthcare due to the insurance companies? How much overhead is required by a doctor to deal with the insurance agencies? Isn't the primary cost of insurance to a doctor "liability insurance"? If you throttle the lawyers, you throttle the insurance agencies and the doctors can get costs under control. Healthcare to the poor, they already have it, it is called the emergency room, this is just another way to penalize the middle class for being responsible.

    June 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Zero.

    And now I go to dive in the Flame`s to save this Planet.

    Fare thee well my people... Idiot!

    June 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Dallas Independent - thank goodness

    southern cousin – you are soooooo right! This man spends money like water and we're all going to pay for it and our ancestors for years to come. I don't know who he thinks he is, but he's playing God and its going to backfire on him. I can't wait for that to happen. I just hope its not too late. When he gets through spending (like that'll never happen), and then he starts taxing US to pay for it, I'll be lucky to make ends meets. Its tough enough now. I think I would be better off quitting my job and joining the "hands out" crowd that helped to elected this moron and get some freebies of my own!

    June 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. UNHAPPY LA. Dem

    All anyone has to do is look at the countries where this has been tried before to see it does not work. Have you ever seen any program the government runs that is efficient? This will be a screwed up mess where you can't get decent care for months and tons of red tape before you do.

    June 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Peter E

    Bureaucrats already decide my health, they just happen to be private coporation bureaucrats who make a profit out of denying me health care. And they tax the hell out of me with their fees! It's time for a better, cheaper, non-profit alternative! I say it's time for government helath care. Privatized health care has clearly failed!

    June 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. makesUwonder

    When has government ever lowered the cost of anything. This is not a request by Obama, it is a threat. Either back me or else. Kiss your parents and grandparents good bye liberals because they are collateral damage in Obama's march to the dictatorship.

    June 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Rob

    Dave from Jacksonville June 15th, 2009 12:50 pm ET – Nice try. Apparently where you and I differ is that I was raised to believe that you work for something and you take responsibility. Whereas you were taught to stay home, sit on your butt and watch MTV, and when mommy and daddy stop taking care of you, turn around and expect the government to take care of you. Be a shame if you actually went out and tried to find a job, but then you'd miss the latest episode of Cribs.

    And to John June 15th, 2009 12:40 pm ET – You're right. With this batch of crooks running the show in Washington, capitalism is dead. Maybe in 2010 when the Dem idiots get voted out of Congress, and then in 2013 when Obama finishes up his disgraceful one and only term, them capitalism can thrive again and America can regain its greatness. That is unless the Dems have screwed things up too badly before then.

    June 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Tim

    So tell me, did Obama vote against or resist the same proposal that the Republican's tried to pass?

    June 15, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Tim

    Health care mandates will dumb down the healthcare industry. Smart young people will go into a different field. This will also happen in the banking industry. The smart people will leave the companies who have salary controls.

    It's just like everything else we dumb down. Rather than striving to lift people up, you need to hold back those who have so those that don't have won't feel bad.

    June 15, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Keith in Austin

    Limiting malpractice claims makes much more sense than Socialized Medicine! I hope Obama has the guts to take on the American Bar Association. My guess is that he will take the typical Democrat approach and raise taxes and spend us into oblivion.

    June 15, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Ken

    This is at least one area that I would agree with the President and that there should be limits set, for the people have a tendency to file law suits much higher than their loss. Much caused by their attorneys and the greedy people!

    June 15, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. CAL

    @southerncousin

    in order for President Obama to clean up bushes mess of course he has to spend. It's idiots like you that don't seem to get that. You morons who are always talking about the teleprompter how in the hell do you think bush gave a speech? most of the time with the teleprompter he screwed it up so shut up

    June 15, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. Cathy McMillion

    Why not consider limiting the amount lawyers receive from malpractice suits, instead of their usual one third? Juries could award less to patients if they knew the patient could actually keep more than two thirds?

    June 15, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. Rush Von Brunn

    I see the health care industry has hired a number of "Street Teamers" to spread their lies on this posting site.I just laugh at them,just like I do when I hear Limbaugh spew his lies.

    June 15, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. Dawn in Pa

    Malpractice has been on the rise for many years, going all the way back to the seventies.

    I asked my mom who was a RN if she had to have Malpractice insurance and she said yes. The hospital that she worked for paid part of it and she paid the other, but when she left the hospital, she had to pay for it on her own...

    The one way to stop Malpractice is the Doctors to listen to the patients, when operated on, don't love instruments or sponges inside the patients. Miss diagnoses is another that can cause Malpractice. Giving patients the wrong meds be deadly.

    So in order to stop the high cost of healthcare, this is the way, and please you need to have the patient and Physicians listen to each other and having the Physicians pushing patients through like cattle.

    June 15, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. John Black Hills/SD

    Your doctor pays an average of $70,000.00 for malpractice insurance. That has the smell of lawyer who charge on the front end, and on the tail end of this lucrative special interest group our representatives go to work for when congressional pay isn't enough. That's why it cost me $40.00 to have my temperature taken as the normal today, doctors can't afford not to.

    June 15, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Texas Teacher

    Be ASSURED that the AMA, Pharmecutical companies, and Insurance companies are using their lobbyists to fight universal or ANY kind of health care reform! Survey after Survey shows that the AMerican People FAVOR Universal Health Care!

    It works wonderfully in Canada and Europe! Their doctors are dedicated to keeping their patients HEALTHY not ILL in order to make those big bucks. They have no reason to prescribe the most expensive drugs so that their kick back is more! The doctors of Universal Health Care use NATURAL producs to treat ALL illness BEFORE restoring to prescription drugs! They have no economical reason to do otherwise! If their income depends on how many patients they HEAL rather than treat the symptoms of Illness! Our systen is a money making proposition for the AMA, Pharmecutical companies, and Insurance companies! They will NO longer get rich off our health care concerns!

    SO we are pumped full of fear propaganda against Universal Health Care! THINK, People, think! It is as clear as the nose on our collective face!

    June 15, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Corey

    It is the equivelant to Rush Limbaugh wanted President Obama to fail. These are men who claim to be Americans – pathetic.
    Ben Franklin would have had them tossed out on their rearends and put back on a ship to England – they are secretly in love with monarchies and dictatorships.

    June 15, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Fed Up

    What tests would Obama consider unnecessary? Tests are given for a reason to diagnose or rule out disease.

    June 15, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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