Sermo’s Daniel Palestrant got on TV with Howard Dean. It was an amusing (and short) little debate which you can find here.
The best moment was at the start when Dean claimed that Sermo was just a poll. Palestrant pointed out that Dean spent last week explaining how reflective online communities were about what their members thought. Given how Dean rose to national prominence I’m a little surprised that he’s trashing the Internet!
To be honest I thought Palestrant (who I know and like) spent a little too much time having a go at the AMA (which Dean doesn’t support and is probably surprised that backed the House Bill) and not much going after the public plan that Dean was proposing. Palestrant did say at the end that physicians should be paid commensurate with their training while Dean said that salaries were the way to go. But you can imagine getting to some agreement there. Even though Palestrant (as a good THCB reader) pointed out that there’s no real reform in the current bills.
But it does seem to me that Sermo’s results are reflective of one major thing.
American physicians—whether justified by the facts of its relative importance in the American system or not—are incensed about malpractice and are further incensed that no one is currently talking about malpractice reform as being part of any bill.
I think that this is a strategic mistake by the Dems and the trial bar. Big bad corporations are able to cloak themselves in the rhetoric of tort reform by hiding behind the physicians. If the trial lawyers let this segment go, they’d be in much better shape beating back future tort reform efforts.
Meanwhile the malpractice system doesn’t even “catch” half the malpractice—and all the evidence shows that saying “sorry” with a no-fault compensation scheme for actual harm caused by medical errors (which are rarely one individual’s fault) is all the patients want.
Beyond malpractice I read a lot of comments on Sermo about the bill (not all 10,000 though!) and it seems to me that the docs on Sermo are split. My sense is that 65% want to go all cash and 35% wanting to go to some kind of salaried single payer system. And they are all mad at the AMA.
Which indicates to me what THCB readers already know about online forums: If there ain’t agreement going in, you’re unlikely to get it going out!
More on Sermo and the AMA: