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Will the Affordable Care Act change medical malpractice?

The Affordable Care Act was passed to make it so that more Americans could have health insurance. As a result, millions of people signed up for the program. Some of them had insurance before and were just looking into a new way to get it, but many of them had not carried any health coverage prior to the ACA. They were new to the system.

With millions of new people buying health insurance, was there any impact on medical malpractice?

It's a bit hard to tell at this point -- hindsight will tell the true story -- but many experts agree that some impact is inevitable. For one thing, they simply believe that the sheer amount of cases will rise. People who may not have gone in to get medical care before the ACA because the cost was too high may now opt for treatment. Statistically, more cases mean more chances for errors, so the numbers could climb.

This doesn't mean that health care is getting worse, but just that doctors are seeing more people. If they amount of medical malpractice cases per every 100,000 people stays the same, one naturally has to assume it will rise with more people coming in.

It's also worth noting that higher numbers of patients could mean that doctors have to work more quickly, and doctors who rush through their procedures have in the past been tied to malpractice cases. This impact is impossible to predict, though it will be interesting to look back on in 10 years.

If the number of cases does begin to climb, those who are injured must know their legal rights in Illinois.

Source: Insurance Journal, "How Healthcare Reform Is Challenging Medical Malpractice," accessed Aug. 25, 2015

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