Should doctors charge patients more for increasing malpractice premiums?

Seems like practices who have a liability surcharge may become increasingly common:

Physicians gathered at the AMA Annual Meeting last month explored a variety of options for immediate relief for a profession besieged by increasingly unaffordable medical liability insurance premiums.

The hottest topic of discussion: liability surcharges. The idea is that physicians would tack a charge onto patients’ bills to help offset their insurance payment. Low Medicare and even lower Medicaid reimbursement rates combined with managed care contracts that lock in fees have left them no way to recoup increased overhead, physicians said.

It is unfortunate that the lack of tort-reform progress and reimbursement solutions are resulting in passing the buck to the patient. To use a sports analogy, this is akin to contract bargaining between the owners and players, with the fans being the biggest losers.

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