Monday, March 3, 2008

Late Night Convos and The First Round of Ideas

The last five days have been very productive at 5009 Stillwood Drive. On top of the usual amount of accomplishment, the nights have seen about 20 hours worth of discussion and debate on a number of topics from issues in the state of Tennessee, to vice-president possibilities for both parties, and electoral math in the upcoming general election.

Travis Gable, Jared Gable, Nathan McIntyre, and I were the participants in this series of discussions, the last of which ended at 4:30 this morning. I will offer up very brief summations of the topics and conjectures. Let us know what you think:

-Health Care in Tennessee- We propose to end all socialized medicine in the Volunteer State. Instead, we improve the quality, availability, and cost of health care to all its indigent citizens by paying 100% of a private insurance premium for all eligible families.

The State would contract with several private companies to provide competitive and individualized policies to all residents who qualify. Even with a ridiculous premium for insurance that covered 100% of any claim, the state would save millions of dollars a year financing these premiums as opposed to paying-out huge sums of money per procedure or doctor's visit.

Furthermore, the state pays out only a fraction of the cost of the procedures, which forces hospitals and physicians to lose money, which leads to state sponsored financial bail-outs of hospitals in order to keep the doors open. This is a terrible way to do business.
However, with these private insurers paying out at much higher rates and every resident being covered, the physicians and hospitals cease to lose money. This translates into a situation where no bail-outs of hospitals are necessary and more taxable revenue exists. Everyone wins. The new medical tax revenue could even help pay for the premiums, further reducing the cost to the tax-payer and allowing the state to roll the budget surplus into education.

Yeah, we're pretty good.

-Medical Malpractice Tribunal- The American Medical Association estimates that 85% of the medical malpractice lawsuits filed are frivolous or bad-outcome cases where incompetence did not exist. It is in this area of civil law that the scales of justice are imbalanced.

When a med. mal. suit is brought by a litigator, the hospital and/or physician are at an extreme disadvantage from the start. Even if negligence or incompetence did not exist, simply filing the suit is costing the defendant money in legal fees and court costs. Essentially, the litigator has a gun to the head of the defendant hoping they will settle out-of-court to avoid mounting larger legal fees. (i.e.- To fight a baseless lawsuit may cost the physician's insurance company $75,000, but the litigator is asking for $55,000 to settle out of court. Therefore, the physician's insurance pays the settlement, and the doctor has the suit on their permanent record)

Our proposal is a Med. Mal. Tribunal made up of 7 professional members (3 patient advocate attorneys, 3 physicians in the same field as the defendant, and one MD/JD to preside over the hearing as judge). The state would establish three such courts for Middle, East, and West Tennessee.
This panel of experts would decide if incompetence or negligence did indeed exist. If not, the case is thrown-out with no penalty brought against the plaintiff. If negligence does exist according to the expert panel, the trial may go on to the civil trial court with absolutely no cap on the amount for which the plaintiff may sue in damages.

Introducing this buffer between litigators and physicians levels the playing field. Fair is fair.

We covered much more, which I will detail on Wednesday and Friday. In the mean time these are some of the more far-fetched plans:

-Selling off Memphis to either Mississippi or Arkansas (bidding starts at $12)
-A "Manifest Destiny" doctrine that includes buying hostile institutions (i.e.-The University of Tennessee at Lexington and Tuscaloosa) with state surplus dollars, and conquering portions of Far East Tennessee (formerly North Carolina) with the Vol Navy and the establishment of "Vol Marts."

I promise our other ideas are better.
We'll see you later this week! Have a great Monday!


Julie said...

Have you thoroughly considered the ramifications of the aquisition of UTT? As an Auburn alum/fan, I will gladly give UA to UT - no charge. But only if that includes UT gaining all the lovely fans that go with UA (they would have to relocate, right?).

I think your starting bid for Memphis is a little high.

Nicole McIntyre said...

Vol Mart? The thought of that much orange makes me sick...