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Peter Wetherall
Peter Wetherall
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Irony of Ironies – Government Seeks Payback for Medical Malpractice

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I read in this morning’s Las Vegas Review-Journal that in October of this year, the federal government will start declining to pay medicare benefits to providers that commit medical malpractice, or who otherwise perform deficiently. Specifically, when providers commit certain errors, the charge for that procedure or hospitalization will be rejected, as a means of motivating these providers to plain old-fashioned be more careful.

It would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad that our federal government is willing and able to carve out a medical malpractice remedy for itself, even as this administration tells injured folks that their injury claims should be abolished outright or severely limited. This type of hypocrisy should make every fair-minded citizen sick. Those holier-than-thous in Washington (and some here in Nevada) tell us incessantly that medical malpractice claims are frivolous, and a blight on our civil justice system, yet have no problem carving out a unilateral remedy for medicare.

Understand, I have no problem with medicare funds (finally) being protected from hospitals and other providers who demand payment even when errors in treatment don’t justify their charges. What galls me is that, when such a plan serves to bail medicare out, it’s a great idea, but when the hospital (insurance) money goes to a catastrophically injured infant or other victim of malpractice, it’s a frivolous and abhorrent proposition that should be drastically limited. What’s good for the goose is normally good for the gander, but apparently not in the minds of the tort reform extremists.