The Best Discussion of Medical Malpractice I’ve Heard

The first Monday of every month, I help to host Doctors for America’s one-hour phone conference “Learn from the experts.” We have a nice, substantive discussion with policy experts. We’ve had some people you’ve heard of: Henry Aaron, Jon Gruber, Jeffrey Toobin, Timothy Jost, Mark Peterson, Barbara Starfield, Thomas Bodenheimer, Zeke Emanuel, and others.

Last night, DFA president Vivek Murthy interviewed Allen Kachalia, MD JD, of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He discussed medical liability and safety policies, and the impact of proposed policies ranging from malpractice caps to specialized health courts on health care quality and safety. I’m not an expert on this issue. I’m always struck by the difference in perspective between physicians and others in health policy. From an economic perspective, the impact of malpractice litigation and defensive medicine are probably overstated. From a cultural and professional morale perspective, the impacts are large. From many perspectives, the current system does not work well.

In any event, Vivek and Allen provide one of the best discussions of these issues you’re going to hear.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.