Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dear 44: Care That Works For All

“Let’s start with the single biggest barrier that puts coverage out of reach for many families and employers and threatens to drag down our economy: cost. We can dramatically reduce costs by implementing health IT, focusing on wellness and prevention, reducing medical errors and ending frivolous medical malpractice suits.When it comes to health IT, we need a networked health care system that unites providers, facilities, and patients and makes information available to support efficient, collaborative care. Health IT is essential for reducing costly medical errors and litigation. Anyone who suffers a medical injury due to a preventable error deserves legal redress, but that’s no excuse for frivolous liability claims that drive up prices and drive out health care providers. There’s a difference between malpractice and not being perfect. The creation of specialized health liability courts would remove medical malpractice claims from the tort system. Such courts already operate successfully in areas such as bankruptcy. But the best way to reduce costs is to prevent the need for services in the first place, and you can only do that through wellness and prevention. Congress needs to provide tax incentives for prevention and wellness programs as a step in transforming the system away from treatment and toward prevention.”


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