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Will better insurance coverage lead to more malpractice claims?

It's virtually impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on a news program without reading something about health care in America. The adoption of the Affordable Care Act has meant that more and more people are gaining health insurance, many for the first time. Estimates are that at least 22 million Americans will get access to health insurance in the next several years.

For many people, it's an excellent development. Having a safety net in place for medical emergencies, as well as for ongoing health care, is great piece of mind for many folks who didn't have it before. Not everyone is completely optimistic about future developments, though; some fear that having more people with health care will increase the number of medical malpractice claims.

One way in which this might be reflected is the very nature of patient-doctor relationships. In the past, it was likely that one doctor was essentially responsible for a single patient's care, seeing that patient through from diagnosis through treatment. The chances of making an error because of misinformation or incorrect assumptions was small.

Now, however, patients could see any number of physicians over the course of treatment. Today's doctors have to rely on records, rather than first-hand knowledge, in order to treat their patients. The possibility of making a mistake rises without that kind of intimate knowledge.

If patients are harmed by physician mistakes, those patients deserve to be compensated properly for those mistakes. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys can assist patients who find themselves in that kind of situation.

Source: Insurance Journal, "How Healthcare Reform Is Challenging Medical Malpractice," June 16, 2014

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