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Old 10-18-2012, 08:05 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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So what's holding up medical tort reform?

This is one thing I never understood. I made the argument back in 2009 during the entire yearlong healthcare debate that while I never thought tort reform would really lower the cost of healthcare in any significant way, it's still an issue worth pursuing. Medical malpractice lawsuits swamp doctors, and in the new era of near-universal healthcare, we're going to want to lighten their burdens as much as possible.

Besides, there's a remote chance you could have some significant savings with tort reform, but I suppose you can't know until you actually freaking try.

I'm willing to bet if Pelosi and the Democrats had included tort reform in the ACA, it's possible they could have swung somebody like Scott Brown over.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch...ractice-reform

Republicans press HHS on malpractice reform
By Sam Baker
10/17/12 11:35 AM ET

The Obama administration hasn't lived up to its rhetoric on medical malpractice reform, congressional Republicans charged Wednesday.

Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) pressed the Health and Human Services Department on a grant program that was supposed to research various approaches to malpractice reform. But there's little to show for the money, the lawmakers said.

Obama said in a 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress that he was open to limits on lawsuits against doctors — a long-standing GOP priority. And the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded $23.2 million for studies on the issue. But real malpractice reform doesn't seem to be any closer, the Republicans said.

"The President’s September 9, 2009 speech gave the clear impression that taxpayers’ monies would be spent, in significant part, on projects related to “traditional” medical malpractice reforms," they said in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Contrary to that clear impression, it appears that none of the $23.2 million awarded has gone to researching or implementing “traditional” medical malpractice reforms."

Obama and Republicans agree, at least rhetorically, that malpractice suits raise the cost of healthcare. They say doctors perform tests that are probably unnecessary because they're afraid of being sued if they don't.

Republicans want to cap non-economic damages in malpractice suits at $250,000, the approach favored by the American Medical Association. Obama has backed a different policy. He has said doctors who adhere to the best practices for their specialty should be immune from lawsuits altogether, but those who don't follow accepted guidelines should be subject to lawsuits without a cap on damages.

Republicans wanted the AHRQ fund to adhere to what they call "traditional" malpractice reforms.

"None of the $23.2 million awarded has gone to researching or implementing 'traditional' medical malpractice reforms and … it appears that all of the research funded by the AHRQ is aimed at proving the obvious: as the number of adverse events declines, the number of malpractice lawsuits also declines," a press release accompanying the letter states.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:16 AM   #2
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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