Thursday, March 17, 2005

More Useless Government Nannyism

The government is now qualified to determine whether your doctor's actions were "medically necessary," not whether the treatment was unreasonable or unlawful. Moreover, if your doctor prescribes something that was not "medically necessary," he or she can now be sent to jail.

Here's hoping you don't suffer some painful injury that gets undertreated because your doctor was afraid to prescribe you the necessary medication. Moreover, and I know you are getting tired of hearing this, If your doctor overprescribes medication to you - you can sue him civilly and receive a remedy. How does it help for the government to get involved and levy its fines and criminal penalties (in the process driving up medical costs by creating a major insurance risk). Oh yeah, here's how, it doesn't.

Kid Handsome


Blogger Chowda said...

Why you wouldn't want the government act as a check to ensure doctors perform their duties in good order? Now THAT'S putting a lot of trust in a doctor to treat your "painful injury" appropriately.

Yes, if you experience some form of "malpractice," you can seek rememdy in civil court, but that assumes you have the money and time to pursue a very difficult case. If the government is involved, they take on the burden to go after the doctor - not you.

The media is all over this issue becuase doctors, like teachers, perform a "civic" duty. They are a necessary part to advance our society. But this does not grant them the right to be exempt from government scrutiny.

1:27 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

I think you may be missing the point of the problems this creates for doctors. First of all, the medical profession is heavily regulated. Doctors must be licensed, they must (in most states) have malpractice insurance, they must be registered with the DEA in order to prescribe certain medications (especially the ones at issue in these cases). I'm sure I'm leaving out a considerably larger body of regulatory authority that applies to doctors. Please note that I did not advocate the repeal of any of these laws.

Rather, I am complaining about the post facto determination by the government that a particular doctor's lawful exercise of his or her duties was not "medically necessary." This is a determination that is often based on statistics rather than a case by case analysis. Moreover, the government could choose a variety of less heavy-handed tactics to stop doctors from the, relatively subjectively interpereted, over prescription of medicine. For example, they could: revoke the doctor's license; remove his or her ability to prescribe medication; force the doctor to take continuing education classes, or a variety of other actions short of massive fines and jail time. My cynical view of the whole issue is that the government is now enacting and enforcing laws as a means of revenue generation. This seems especially apparent when the government enacts laws, such as these, where a person's intent to commit a crime simply does not matter.

Finally, with respect to your claim that the government takes on the burden of going after the doctor for you, I think it ignores the fact that the government has already set up procedures that allow you to make a complaint and have that complaint addressed by a governmental or administrative authority. Furthermore, when the government seeks criminal and civil penalties - if you do have the wherewithal to pursue a civil remedy (not as expensive to the plaintiff in this arena as you would have us believe), the government action is going to supercede your claim and once they have taken all the doctor's money - there won't be any left over for you.

Finally, again I'm not sure the scope of the point you make about "civic duty," but I'm not sure that our government is necessarily the appropriate body to tell me or anyone else what my civic duty is - with the obvious exception of paying taxes and serving in the military during war time. Even on those two clear issues, there is certainly some room to quibble with any government determination.

Kid Handsome

1:27 PM  

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