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President Obama on medical malpractice, defensive medicine

From the President's remarks at the American Medical Association's meeting in Chicago. The audience was certainly engaged, as you can tell more clearly from the sound clip.

Now, I recognize that it will be hard to make some of these changes if doctors feel like they're constantly looking over their shoulders for fear of lawsuits. I recognize that. (Applause) Don't get too excited yet. (Applause, cheers, standing ovation.)

All right...Now, I understand that some doctors may feel the need to order more tests and treatments to avoid being legally vulnerable. That's a real issue. Now...just hold onto your horses here, guys. (Laughter.)

I want to be honest with you. I'm not advocating caps on malpractice awards (murmurs, laughter) which I personally believe can be unfair to people who have been wrongfully harmed. But I personally I think we need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patients' safety first, how to let doctors focus on practicing medicine, how to encourage a broader use of evidence-based guidelines.

I want to work with the AMA so we can scale back the excessive defense of medicine that reinforces our current system, and shift to a system where we are providing better care, rather than simply more treatment.

So, this is going to be a priority for me, and I know, based on your responses, it's a priority for you, and I look forward to working with you. But it's going to be difficult. All of this stuff is going to be difficult. All of it's going to be important.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.