There is widespread public acceptance of the proposal: Of 1,000 registered voters, 66% supported the idea of creating health courts to decide medical claims, according to a nationwide poll in April by Clarus Research Group.
At least 75% believed that lawsuits and legal fees are a major cause of high medical insurance rates. Another 68% said "plenty of good doctors are leaving the practice of medicine because of the number of lawsuits and cost of liability insurance."
Despite the Obama and Romney endorsements, Howard says, the issue of health courts has not been discussed in the debates by either the president or his challenger, and that is not surprising, since the "big picture" issues of Medicare costs and health insurance are so dominant.
Under the Common Good plan, health court judges would be dedicated full-time to resolving health care disputes, he says. "So instead of (a litigant) going to a general trial court that would take five years to settle, [he or she] would go to an administrative court, like a workers' administration tribunal, and it would be much quicker, " he says. A lot of cases would be resolved long before trial, Howard adds.
"A whole standard from the health care courts would create a predictable string of jurisprudence based on standards of medical practice" and further reduce time-consuming litigation, Howard says. There is precedence for judicial specialization. There are currently administrative courts that address taxation, immigration decisions, and child custody.