411: The Effects of “Obamacare” on Medical Malpractice

Nov. 25th, 2013   /   ,

 

We are fairly certain that if you’ve flipped on the radio or the television in the past few weeks, you have heard about the recent issues plaguing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) rollout. From website inefficiency to people unexpectedly being dropped from their healthcare plans, it’s safe to say that things have not been going as planned. This is one thing that citizens on both sides of the aisle can agree on.

In considering the unplanned effects of Obamacare, from a personal injury attorney perspective, let’s take a look at the effects of the new law on an issue that we deal with on a day-to-day basis: medical malpractice.

To understand the effects that the law might have on medical malpractice, we must start by acknowledging the intended purpose of the law. One of the main goals of the healthcare law is to make sure that as many people as possible are covered under healthcare plans; this means that, if the law works as intended, millions of individuals will soon have access to healthcare that they could not obtain previously because of unaffordable prices or being excluded from insurance coverages.

So, with millions of individuals being pumped into the healthcare system in a rather rapid fashion, many individuals believe that the inflow of patients will not be met with a commensurate increase in hospital staff and resources (nurses, doctors, medical devices, etc.). The result of this could be that hospital resources are stretched thin and that instead of receiving the attention that patients used to receive, patients may receive less-than-adequate attention as doctors scramble to ensure that all the patients (including all of the brand new ones) are treated.

With less attention and care being given to each individual patient, it is quite likely that doctors could speed through procedures and negligently issue diagnoses or negligently conduct surgeries and procedures. And, regardless of the reason for the negligence, if a doctor acts with negligence in treating a patient, and the patient suffers, that patient is entitled to compensation from the doctor and/or hospital. It doesn’t matter whether or not the doctor was just trying to hurriedly treat the patient in order to treat others – negligence is negligence.

On the other hand, supporters of the law—including a majority of practicing doctors in the U.S.—argue that doctors will eventually be able to dedicate more time to dealing with patients because of how the healthcare law will eliminate the previously necessitated volume of hours and resources dedicated to dealing with insurance verification, etc. The closer we get to universal healthcare, many argue, the less time hospitals will have to waste deciding who can receive treatment and who can’t.

Nevertheless, due to the increase in patients as a result of the new healthcare law or not, if you feel you have suffered damages of any kind due to the negligence of a medical practitioner or medical staff, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Please reach out to us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling 561-266-9191 or emailing us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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