SB 141: It Might be Coming Back

September 4, 2014 9:00 am

by Eric The Younger · 2 comments

Some of you may remember SB141 from the 2013 legislative session. Jon wrote a great piece explaining all of its puppeteers and this was after we had dueling posts on the matter on the front page (pro version, opposing version). Well it looks like the issue may be coming back next session according to the Columbia County News-Times. Maybe this time the puppeteers will realize how not to attack every possible coalition that would support the bill.

I’m sure everyone remembers the arguments in favor offering significant cost savings, and the numbers they have cited in the past are quite impressive. At the same time the other side often cited the right to a trial by jury as enshrined in our constitution, both state and federal.

Surely there could be some savings involved by switching to a workman’s comp type situation, especially if you could keep the standard of proof at negligence. Presumably this could also help some “victims” (I can’t come up with a better word) who do not have a case with inherent sexiness like a wrongful death with gross negligence. You know the patient whose doctor nicked a tendon in their wrist and it’s no longer as functional.

I typically describe myself as an establishment type with some liberty tendencies. And because of that, I am wary of a system that chips away at some constitutional guarantees, like a trial by jury. However we have seen some success with this in the area of workman’s comp. Will it completely do away with a constitutional right? No. Will it do enough to catch my attention and worry about spillover effects? Yes.

One thing that seems to have been absent from most healthcare cost related discussions recently though is how each of us approaches healthcare. It would appear to me that some of the problem could be related to the fact that most folks don’t utilize preventive measures and rather treat health care as “I’m broke please fix me care.”

Sure the incentive of the ACA was to provide more Americans with insurance so they will have access to care, but the fundamental approach to care is still the same. Some preventive things are covered under the ACA but there isn’t a really hard push to incentivize healthier lifestyle changes across larger populations. Some here and there, but not enough.

Type two diabetes and heart disease are largely preventable chronic conditions. Eat a few more vegetables, eat a few less Whoppers, replace a coke with a water, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Over time each of these practices helps to prevent two increasingly common and increasingly expensive chronic conditions.

We each perform preventative maintenance on our cars, why not our bodies?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

FranInAtlanta September 4, 2014 at 9:28 am

Note that all of us older folks were trained with “hospitalization.” No subsidy for health maintenance. Only fixing when broke.

Kelly McCutchen September 4, 2014 at 11:35 am

This is an important issue. Most people agree on the problem – our current system costs too much, is fairly ineffective and unfair. There are many proposed solutions – caps on noneconomic damages, medical courts, malpractice review panels, no fault models, etc. – none of which are perfect. We believe shifting toward the no fault model is the best tradeoff – not perfect but better than the status quo. A good debate would be healthy. Here’s an overview we’ve published: http://georgiapolicy.org/ftp_files/GTI/MedicalMalpractice.pdf