Continuously Challenged Medical Liability Laws Drive Up Costs
Earlier this week, the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a portion of the Florida Chamber-backed medical liability reforms that were made in 2013. At question was if “ex parte communications” violated the patient’s right to privacy in a medical malpractice lawsuit. In these cases, “ex parte communications” allow the defense attorney to receive medical information about the patient, including from other doctors who have treated the patient, without the patient or the patient’s attorney needing to be present. This allows the defense attorney to have a clear picture of any other factors that may have contributed to the patient’s medical injury.
This is not the first challenge regarding privacy in medical malpractice cases and “ex parte communications.” A federal court last year upheld the 2013 reforms, saying that Florida’s addition of “ex parte communications” does not violate federal health care privacy rights.
Furthermore, trial lawyers have continuously attacked the caps for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, with a district court of appeal ruling earlier this month that these caps violated the equal protection clause. This follows a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court last year that also threw out caps on non-economic damages, allowing a patient to collect pain and suffering.
Medical liability lawsuits drive up the cost of doing business, not just for doctors, but for all. Doctors are more likely to order extra tests or procedures to avoid any malpractice, which drives up the cost of healthcare. This is why the Florida Chamber has included medical liability reform in its Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan.
The Florida Legislature will start meeting again on September 16th, kicking off fall committee meetings, with a 2016 Florida Legislative Session start date of January 12th. The Florida Chamber will continue to advocate to reduce the cost of healthcare and reform Florida’s bottom-10 legal climate. To add your voice to the fight, contact Greg Blose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Urge Your Legislators to Support Healthcare Reform
As the Florida Legislature convenes for the Special Session, lawmakers will discuss healthcare reform.
The Florida Chamber’s Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan is the most comprehensive plan available that will reduce healthcare costs, improve access to healthcare for uninsured Floridians, improve quality of care and end the expensive cost-shift resulting in insured Floridians paying approximately $2,000 more per visit to cover the cost of the uninsured.
Contact your legislators now and urge them to consider the Florida Chamber’s Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan.
Watch The Video, Read the Plan:
Watch our short healthcare video that helps tell the story of why this issue is important to Floridians, then find out why the Florida Chamber’s recommendations will result in smarter healthcare coverage for Florida.
Florida Chamber Champions Healthcare Expansion and Lower Premiums During Central Florida Partnership Business Briefing
CEO Mark Wilson Says: Expand Healthcare and Give Us Our Eight Percent Back
ORLANDO, FL. (April 24, 2015) – Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson today told a sold-out crowd attending the Central Florida Partnership Business Briefing that Florida should expand healthcare coverage and lower insurance premiums on the insured by finally ending the eight percent “cost shift”.
The Florida Hospital Association reports that hospitals currently “cost shift” about $1.4 billion of uncompensated care onto those who have health coverage – increasing premiums by about eight percent.
“At the Florida Chamber, we believe Florida has an opportunity to set the national example for expanding healthcare coverage while also lowering costs on Floridians and reforming Florida’s healthcare system,” Wilson said during the “Expanding Healthcare and Ending the Cost Shift Now” Business Briefing. “Simply put, expand healthcare coverage to more Floridians, and give us our eight percent back.”
Making Florida more competitive means making tough choices, and putting the long-term security of Florida’s future ahead of short-term fixes. Currently:
- One-seventh of Florida’s economy is based on healthcare, and
About 30 percent of Florida’s budget is consumed by Medicaid.
Worse yet, those numbers are growing – eclipsing Florida’s spending in crucial areas like education. As our state prepares to add six million new residents by 2030, it’s more important than ever that we get healthcare coverage right.
That’s why the Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Task Force, made up of volunteer business leaders from around Florida, developed a comprehensive Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan. It embraces expanding coverage and lowering costs, while achieving better healthcare outcomes and eliminating the $1.4 billion hidden healthcare tax that is “shifted” onto Floridians.
Smart solutions to further lower costs include reducing major cost drivers like:
- Billions in healthcare fraud,
- Inflated workers’ comp reimbursements,
- Meritless lawsuits,
- Allowing telemedicine to serve as an alternative healthcare delivery system, and
- Enabling nurse practitioners to practice to their fullest potential.
“Most importantly, limiting the overall financial impact on the Medicaid budget to no more than 32 percent, and allowing a flow through of savings in the form of lower insurance premiums is a key component of the Florida Chamber’s plan,” Wilson added.
The Florida Chamber has championed a Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan throughout the legislative session. Wilson testified before the Florida Senate on more than one occasion, offered a 49-page comprehensive healthcare proposal as well as executive overview, and shared an educational video of Florida’s $1.4 billion hidden healthcare tax with employees throughout Florida.
Given that lawmakers remain far apart on their current budget discussions – a result of the House and Senate having different positions on healthcare expansion, the Florida Chamber is also recommending that lawmakers separate the federal funding of the Low Income Pool (LIP) from ending the cost shift. After securing LIP funding from the federal government, the Florida Chamber is hopeful that the Florida Legislature will return to the negotiating table to address the real opportunities in Florida’s healthcare arena – improving the quality of care, expand coverage, finally end the eight percent cost shift, protect taxpayers, reduce fraud and lower healthcare costs for Floridians.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.