Fear Of Lawsuits Drives Up Health Care Costs By Five Percent Without Any Noticeable Benefit To Patient
Doctors order more tests and screenings than necessary because they're afraid of legal issues if they miss something. Meanwhile, a study finds that millennials have the largest share of medical debt.
The Fiscal Times:
How Much Does Fear Of Malpractice Lawsuits Drive Health Care Costs?
Now, a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by Duke University law professor Michael Frakes and MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber puts a number on it, finding that fear of lawsuits increases the intensity, and cost, of inpatient hospital care by 5 percent, without benefiting patient health. The researchers reached their conclusion by finding a control group who could not sure for malpractice: active-duty military members treated in the military health care system. (Rosenberg, 7/25)
Millennials Rack Up The Most Medical Debt, And More Frequently
People often imagine medical debt as something that comes from late-life catastrophic illness. But a recent study shows millennials carry a greater amount of this kind of debt than older Americans, and incur it more frequently. (Santhanam, 7/26)
And Kaiser Health News' Bill Of The Month involves a transgender woman's surgery —
Kaiser Health News:
A Transgender Woman’s Quest For Surgery Caught In Political Crosswinds
With the country on course to enshrine the rights of transgender Americans, Wren Vetens introduced herself as a woman for the first time in January 2016, at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. After being raised as a boy and grappling with her gender identity for years, it felt liberating to be referred to as “she.” Vetens, who is now 24, began taking hormones to develop female characteristics that spring, as the Obama administration unveiled a landmark rule barring most health care providers from discriminating based on gender identity, under peril of losing federal funding. (Huetteman, 7/26)
Kaiser Health News:
A Transgender Woman’s ‘Bait-And-Switch’ $92,000 Surgery Bill
Wren Vetens thought she’d done everything possible to prepare for her surgery. She chose a doctoral program in physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a school that not only embraced transgender students like her, but also granted insurance coverage for her gender confirmation surgery when she enrolled in 2016. When uncertainty over the fate of an Obama-era anti-discrimination rule allowed the state to discontinue such coverage, Vetens and her mother, Dr. Kimberly Moreland, an OB-GYN, shopped for another plan. (Huetteman, 7/26)