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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Quick Hits

Nothing political ... as far as you know ...

E.J. Dionne says the Republicans are set for a battle for the soul of their party, noting:
… beneath this year's slogans, Republicans are decidedly mixed in their view of the Bush years, and each of their leading presidential candidates proposes important breaks with the Bush approach.

Crooks and Liars provides this funny bit about Ann Coulter being made to look like a bigger ass than she usually does herself.

Slate also has a good bit about
The Lost Episodes of 'Chappelle's Show', likening the comedian to Philip Roth and Don DeLillo.

Slate's Ezra Klein reports that
there is no crisis of frivolous medical malpractice claims, suggesting that the Democrats have the best plan for lowering the impact of patient injuries on overall health care costs. That plan was laid out here in the New England Journal of Medicine, and suggests:

Instead of focusing on the few areas of intense disagreement, such as the possibility of mandating caps on the financial damages awarded to patients, we believe that the discussion should center on a more fundamental issue: the need to improve patient safety.

We all know the statistic from the landmark 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that as many as 98,000 deaths in the United States each year result from medical errors. But the IOM also found that more than 90 percent of these deaths are the result of failed systems and procedures, not the negligence of physicians. Given this finding, we need to shift our response from placing blame on individual providers or health care organizations to developing systems for improving the quality of our patient-safety practices.

To improve both patient safety and the medical liability climate, the tort system must achieve four goals: reduce the rates of preventable patient injuries, promote open communication between physicians and patients, ensure patients access to fair compensation for legitimate medical injuries, and reduce liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Addressing just one of these issues is not sufficient. Capping malpractice payments may ameliorate rising premium rates, but it would do nothing to prevent unsafe practices or ensure the provision of fair compensation to patients.

We'll be watching as this one germinates ...


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