The President committed in his speech to Congress to promote pilot projects to solve the problem of defensive medicine. "I've talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs," he stated. "So I'm proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine."
Creating special health courts is the proposal advanced by most serious observers to eliminate the incentives for defensive medicine--including by consumer groups such as AARP, patient safety groups, medical societies such as the AMA and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and by such thought leaders as Bill Bradley, Mark McClellan, Newt Gingrich, and David Brooks. The public also overwhelmingly supports health courts--a poll released last week shows that 67 percent of the public favored the reform initiative. Nor is the idea of special courts some radical idea--our country has scores of special courts, precisely in areas where special expertise is needed to achieve consistent and expeditious justice--bankruptcy courts, tax courts, mental health courts, drug courts, workers' compensation tribunals, Social Security tribunals, vaccine liability courts, family courts, you name it.