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Will the Affordable Care Act affect medical malpractice?

The nation is still learning about the various effects of the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as Obamacare). The health care reform has been the subject of much debate and controversy for years now, and many continue to dispute the success and validity of the ACA even now that it has gone into effect. As millions more people gain health insurance, one particular concern that many may be overlooking is what effect the ACA will have on medical malpractice claims.

Medical malpractice is currently responsible for many injuries and lawsuits each year, and some experts suspect that the number of claims will rise as more previously uninsured people get health care coverage. These individuals will likely have little knowledge of the health care system, so they will need assistance, both medical and legal, as they explore their new health benefits. Many of these people may not even know that medical malpractice claims are possible.

Despite the likely increase in medical malpractice claims by unfamiliar patients, some believe that the biggest obstacle in these future cases could be the new paradigm that is emerging in health care. This new system involves being sent to various professionals who are responsible for a patient’s care depending on their health concerns. Where previously patients were treated by a single professional, usually their general physician, they are now being moved through an accountable care organization. In this manner, patients will have many more professionals treating them, which could make medical malpractice claims difficult to navigate.

These are only some of the issues that the ACA could bring forward in the coming months and years. Individuals who are unfamiliar with medical malpractice and health care issues are encouraged to familiarize themselves as ACA coverage expands. You may also wish to consider consulting an attorney with any questions you have in the future.

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