Law and Healthcare

Science has theories and postulates. For example, the earth rotates on its own axis to bring day and night systematically. But law has no such thing for certain. The lawyers indulge in countless arguments in the court for an unknown outcome. The legal system has no precise answer but to adhere to varying conditions and situations (Miller & Hutton, 2004, p. 1 &2). The uncertainty in legal system can be compared to that of the physician’s diagnosis over human body. As all human bodies are not similar, the results are also not the same from all (Miller & Hutton, 2004, p.1 &2).

The decisions taken by health care professionals in day-to-day work are bound by legal principles. It is not easy for healthcare professionals to obtain legal advice before each and every decision. Prior knowledge of law is helpful for healthcare professionals in avoiding severe consequences. The legal system helps to resolve disputes in an orderly manner. Healthcare is governed by (1) civil law and (2) criminal law. Civil law is divided into (i) contract law, (ii) tort law, and (iii) governmental regulations.

Contract law deals with agreements and payment of compensation for failure of agreements. Tort law imposes liability for injuries or breach of duties. The governmental regulations expect health care units to maintain quality, safety, labor relations, etc. These regulations help to attain compliance. Criminal law punishes those who engage in forbidden conduct. Owing to tax and reimbursement implications (Miller & Hutton, 2004, p. 45), the hospital boards enter into contracts with corporation to better manage the hospitals.

Many governmental hospitals are created by the special statute for the specific hospital or the government unit (Miller & Hutton, 2004, p. 19). The USA has difficult times in gaining control over healthcare issues and this is observed from the fact that in 2006, about 47 million Americans lacked health care insurance. In June, 2008 the number of uninsured American adults rose nearly 60% to 25 million in 2007. However the health care spending increased to $2. 7 trillion from $2. 1 trillion in 2006 (Diller).

New ways such as consumer directed health plans by the recent governments make consumers financially responsible for their choice of health care (Buntin et al. 2005). Moreover, reimbursement and third party tax implications such as threats to tax exemption (Miller & Hutton, 2004, p. 269) add to the disappointment of the healthcare system. If the laws relating to healthcare go haywire, people will lose trust in the healthcare system. Though law is not an exact science, lawyers and healthcare professionals play an important role in the system.


Buntin, M. B. , Damberg, C. , Haviland, Amelia. , etal. (2005). Consumer directed health plans: implications for health care quality and cost. Prepared for California Healthcare Foundation. Diller, W. The implications of healthcare reform from “Standard & Poor’s equity research. ” Retrieved July 27, 2009 from http://www. businessweek. com/investor/content/jul2008/pi20080725_983150. htm Miller, R. D. , Hutton, R. C. (2004). Problems in health care law. USA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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