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Want To Save $ 5.4 Billion A Year ?

by @ 7:37 am on October 14, 2009. Filed under Health Care Reform, Legal, Political Parties, Politics, Republicans

Enact tort reform:

CBO now estimates that implementing a typical package of tort reform proposals nationwide would reduce total U.S. health care spending by about 0.5 percent (about $11 billion in 2009). That figure is the sum of a direct reduction in spending of 0.2 percent from lower medical liability premiums and an additional indirect reduction of 0.3 percent from slightly less utilization of health care services. (Those estimates take into account the fact that because many states have already implemented some of the changes in the package, a significant fraction of the potential cost savings has already been realized.)

Enacting a typical set of proposals would reduce federal budget deficits by roughly $54 billion over the next 10 years, according to estimates by CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee of Taxation. That figure includes savings of roughly $41 billion from Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, as well as an increase in tax revenues of roughly $13 billion from a reduction in private health care costs that would lead to higher taxable wages.

Of course, as Senator Orrin Hatch explains in this video, getting tort reform through the Democratic Congress is unlikely:

The other side of the coin, though, is that Republicans had control of Congress from 1994 to 2006, and for six of those years they had control of both the Legislative and Executive Branches and yet they did little to nothing to reform tort law.

It’s nice to talk a good game when you’re out of power, Senator, but your record in power shows that you’re as ineffective on this issue, and many others, as the Democrats.

3 Responses to “Want To Save $ 5.4 Billion A Year ?”

  1. Tort reform usually means damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits. Those have proven ineffective in practice to deter or reduce litigation.

    If the goal is to keep would-be plaintiffs from suing in the first place, the single most effective thing a doctor can do is develop a good bedside manner and take the time to use it with patients and families. No kidding. I’ve had tons of clients instruct me not to sue “that nice doctor” even when the evidence indicated that this was the doctor at fault for a botched procedure.

  2. Chris M. says:

    @Transplanted Lawyer: I heard a spot Monday on NPR about this very thing. I forget which hospital started the trial, but they said that by simply APOLOGIZING for botched procedures and better bedside manner they were able to reduce their settlement fund from $70 million down to $13 million. Who would have thought that being responsible had that much incentive?

    Now imagine that across the country combined with tort reform and we’ve got some real savings I would think!

  3. Michael Kirsch, M.D says:

    Orrin Hatch says that tort reform is ‘unlikely’. Try impossible. We will not see it during Obama’s reign. Yes, you are correct that GOP couldn’t deliver on this when they controlled the WH and congress. This wasn’t their fault. They understood tort reform to their core. Their were too many Dems, particularly in the Senate that were able to block it at every turn. Check out under Legal Quality category.

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