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Proposal for an Alternative to the Failed Tort System

Op Ed: Rick Jackson, Chairman of the nonprofit organization Patients for Fair Compensation

Feelings surrounding Florida's medical tort system and negligence standards have moved beyond mere disenchantment. Indeed, when the facts are considered-that Florida spends approximately $25 billion per year on defensive medicine, in example-it is not hyperbolic to assert the state is on the brink of crisis.  Defensive medicine is the practice of ordering medical tests, procedures, and consultations of doubtful clinical value to protect against litigation. Defensive medicine is a hidden driver in the cost of healthcare, and accounts for as much as 26 percent of overall healthcare spending, or between $1,000 and $1,400 per Floridian per year in extraneous fees. Permit one further contextualizing illustration: It can cost $100,000 or more in some parts of Florida to buy a year's worth of medical malpractice insurance providing $250,000 of coverage, which is currently the required minimum for doctors with hospital privileges. So if a South Florida neurosurgeon with five years' experience pays $113,533 in premiums and performs 50 operations in a year, the cost each patient pays just to cover the cost of the malpractice insurance is $2,270. This is unsustainable.

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