Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall

Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

A Response to Defensive Medicine Comments

I had previously written about defensive medicine, and there have been some good comments.  I'm double-posting this response in our Google Group because I'd like to continue this discussion.

The first point I'll respond to is my purportedly "shaky" argument that an increase in demand for MRI's will lead to a cost reduction in MRI's. 

This article sums it up:

"The proliferation of MRI has dropped the cost of a scan here from the $800 to $1,200 range typical in the early years to the current $500 to $650 price range.

However, in some states with an overabundance of MRI sites, such as Florida and California, competitive pressures have given rise to imaging brokers who contract with underutilized sites to deliver customers for discount scans, with reimbursement often pegged as low as $300."

So, due to the increase in demand for MRI's, prices dropped between 40 and 75 percent over a period of ten years.  But let's not quibble about supply and demand with respect to prices of procedures.

Instead, I'll focus on this quote from the second anonymous commenter:

"Sure, insurance companies do interfere greatly with patient care, making decisions on allowable procedures and therapies instead of leaving critical decisions to physicians."

Shouldn't doctors lobby for laws that make insurers pay for more treatments instead of lobbying for laws that will let insurers pay for fewer treatments? 

I guess what I really don't understand is this: Doctors get screwed by malpractice insurers that gouge them with out of control premiums.  Then they get screwed by health insurers that won't pay the doctors fair prices for the services they perform.  But the only kind of laws doctors want to get passed are those that screw the patient to benefit the insurers!