Malpractice reform could cut health care costs

  • Article by: Peter Orszag , Bloomberg News
  • Updated: February 28, 2013 - 6:20 PM

Done right, malpractice reform could produce savings. It’s better than a sequester.

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jpcooperFeb. 28, 13 6:30 PM

Peter where you in 2009 when the Republicans were calling for tort reform as part of Obamacare but Democrats turned a deaf ear?

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Mark27Feb. 28, 13 6:53 PM

Obviously malpractice reform "done right" could be a positive development and "bend the cost curve" for health care in a positive direction, but it's hard for me to imagine any scenario where the threat of litigation is diminished and does not simply increase the incidence of sloppy medical care. There's an incentive curve to everything we do, and the threat of litigation at its current level, while not without downsides, keeps medical providers on their toes to do the job right. If they can leave a can of Altoids in a patient's chest cavity and it'll only cost them $100,000 in damages, expect a lot more cans of Altoids to be left in patients' chest cavities.

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goferfanzFeb. 28, 13 7:48 PM

Mark, I think you are missing the point. About 500-600B is squandered annually on defensive medicine. If one could save even half of that thru tort reform, then apply 10% or 25 B of that booty to a patient injury fund. It would be win, win, and injury claims could still be filed and tracked. Plus, imagine saving 3 Trillion over 10 years. For this govt, that would be stunning.....

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callmeronFeb. 28, 13 9:13 PM

Bush and the Republicans wanted Tort Reform in the early 2000s but Democrats blocked it with a threat of a filibuster in the Senate. Trial lawyers make BIG MONEY (the highest paid of all professions) and 97% of their political donations go to the Democratic Party. Have you noticed all the MEDICAL LAWSUIT commercials on TV since Obama became President? It wasn't like that when Bush was President. You can't watch an hour of TV during the daytime without seeing half a dozen commercials seeking plaintiffs for medical and drug lawsuits. Please read: "For neurosurgeons in Miami, the annual cost of medical malpractice insurance is astronomical — $237,000, far more than the median price of a house. In Toronto, a neurosurgeon pays about $29,200 for coverage. It's even less in Montreal ($20,600) and Vancouver ($10,650)." Source: "Canada keeps malpractice cost in check", Tampa Bay Times (tampabay dot com), July 27, 2009. Have Democrats proposed limiting costs associated with lawsuits, many of which are frivolous? NOPE! And they NEVER will because they don't want to reduce the amount of money flowing into their campaign coffers.

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martiankingFeb. 28, 1310:46 PM

Think about this people. If there is malpractice reform, which lowers the cost of insurance for clinics, hospitals, and physicians, do you really think those savings are going to be passed on to us? They will go into the pockets and bottom lines for all the above providers. The best way to control the costs is to have a single payer system. Many groups can not as effectively negotiated for a volume discount as well as a single large group. Why do you think WalMart is able to get the lowest price from their vendors? The power of size and volume.

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rlwr51Feb. 28, 1311:31 PM

When you are dealing with people who only understand money, you talk money - In today's world where "health care" is all about profit, it has to cost more to just let someone die than to help them.

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basia2186Feb. 28, 1311:55 PM

How on earth could 12 out of 15 posters disagree with ' callmeron's post regarding the cost of malpractice insurance??? If his numbers are correct anyone with a rational thought in their brain couldvsee we have a problem. Is everyone now drinking the kool- aid?

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gcrileyMar. 1, 13 6:04 AM

Have you noticed all the MEDICAL LAWSUIT commercials on TV since Obama became President? __ They have been on TV long before Obama was elected. The biggest change was when the law was changed allowing them to advertise.

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chavistaMar. 1, 13 6:45 AM

Blame the Democrats, blame the Democrats, blame the Democrats. Well, if you'd take the time to look at Section 10607 of P.L. 111-148 (Obamacare) you would see that funds will be provided to any state that wishes to develop a replacement system for the tort system. The results of any new proposed system will be provided to Congress for review to determine the best ideas no later than December 31, 2016, a little over three years from now. Some will say let's institute tort reform now. Well, Texas did that thanks to the Republicans there and it's been a disaster. Malpractice insurance in Texas is not cheaper today than surrounding states and you can't sue if the doctor cuts off the wrong leg or leaves a Volkswagen in your chest. Tort reform is coming, but THANKS to the Democrats the best policies will be put in place to change the system.

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ztwoodsMar. 1, 13 7:52 AM

Everyone needs to read the Time magazine expose' on our health care system and it's associated costs. We truly have the most dysfunctional "healthcare" system in the industrialized world. Malpractice insurance costs are a like grain of sand on the beach compared to everything else that's wrong.

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