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Dust settles on medical ballot measures

The AMA's American Medical News weighs in on the referendum and initiative battles decided earlier this month. Physicians in Florida and Nevada "have fielded calls from colleagues nationwide who are curious about how the campaigns were developed," while trial lawyers for their part are expected to file legal challenges seeking to overturn doctors' victories in both states. As for the counter-initiatives successfully pushed by the lawyers in Florida, "Physicians already have reported fallout [from the anti-confidentiality initiative], including some doctors resigning from peer review boards and at least one hospital suspending peer review for now." In contrast to the doctors' measure, however, "the lawyers' initiatives require approval by the Legislature and governor before they can take effect," according to a Florida Medical Association official, which opens the possibility that eventual regulations to implement the measures will soften some of the most onerous consequences (via KevinMD). (Update: more on the "three-strikes" measure from MedPundit.)

Plus: Insurance Journal (via Martin Grace) has more: Alexander Clem, the president of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers, "said that lawyers might in the future hit back at doctors' incomes with an amendment that requires doctors to charge all their patients the same as they charge Medicaid patients." As for the limits on lawyers' fees, how 'bout just getting clients to sign away their rights? "Clem said some attorneys think some clients may waive their right to the amount of winnings the amendment guarantees, which is 70 percent of the first $250,000 in damages and 90 percent over that. If they can't get a lawyer to take their case because of the requirement, they could simply agree to forego their right to the higher amount, he said." No doubt the FATL would be really sympathetic to such arguments if advanced by, say, credit-card companies that wanted to charge higher interest rates than regulations allow.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.