Mandatory Medical Arbitration: The Wrong Answer to the Rising Cost of Health Care in Utah
AbstractFew pieces of legislation draw attention from the public, and in the increasingly hurried Utah legislative process legislators themselves have little time to analyze each bill. In 2003, the Utah State Legislature passedSenate Bill 138, which allowed physicians to deny care to patients that refused to sign a mandatory and binding arbitration agreement. In passing the legislation, legislators relied heavily on claims that increasing medical malpractice insurance premiums were due to skyrocketing medical malpractice lawsuits, and inordinate awards from â€œrunawayâ€ juries. In doing so, the true scope and cause of the increasing insurance premiumswere overlooked. Just months later Intermountain Health Care adopted mandatory arbitration for more than 170,000 of its patients. The public response to IHCâ€™s policy was swift and severe, resulting in the repeal ofmandatory arbitration only one year later during the 2004 Legislative Session. While the Legislature should be commended for their quick repeal of mandatory arbitration, given the rushed environment of the Utahlegislative process the public can expect such legislative errors to occur in the future
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