James Madison Institute Recommends New Patient Compensation System to bring down Florida Healthcare Costs

side note: The report discussed in this article was published by the James Madison Institute (JMI), a Florida-based think tank dedicated to dedicated to advancing the ideas of limited government, economic freedom, federalism and individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility.

The JMI report argues that the current medical liability tort system is ineffective, costly and has a negative impact on the delivery of healthcare. At the heart of the JMI argument is that all doctors in Florida are engaged in what is negatively refered to as defensive medicine, the practice of ordering unnecessary tests and procedures in hopes of avoiding any litigation that might arise had they not ordered those tests. The JMI makes the  estimate that defensive medicine could be adding billions (yes, billions) of dollars to Florida’s healthcare costs.

The excessive cost of defensive medicine has been a rallying cry for proponents of tort reform for years. While the JMI numbers are obviously inflated, the belief that defensive medicine is an expensive burden is rooted in truth.

Where this report is truly bold is its call for the creation of a patient compensation system similar to a workers’ compensation system. This would include the creation of health courts, which would have neutral medical experts determine culpability and compensation. Meanwhile an entity similar to a quality improvement council would analyze the root of medical errors and establish standards of best practice.

While the language in the following article is executed with a degree of hyperbole, it is an interesting idea that I’d like to learn more about.

The James Madison Institute today released a study in partnership with Patients for Fair Compensation. Titled “Alternative Solutions to Florida’s Medical Malpractice System” the report details the negative impact on patient care due to the practice of defensive medicine.