Obama To Cave On Tort Reform — Adding Provisions to Health Bill That Could Kill 4,800 a Year

In yet another morphing of George Bush and Barack Obama, the Administration has indicated that it will include “tort reform” in the new and smaller health care bill — provisions that the CBO has said could cost 4,800 lives a year. While an estimated roughly 100,000 people die each year from malpractice, the Administration is about to make it more difficult to sue doctors and hospitals.

What is particularly ironic is that Republicans have been objecting that the health care plan will lower the quality if health care, but they are moving to make it more difficult to sue over such malpractice.

The Congressional Budget Office says that the reforms will save $54 billion over 10 years, but it also notes that it could cost thousands of lives. Moreover, $54 billion over 10 years is not a lot of money in the context of $2.5 trillion we spend each year on health care, as Dick Durbin has noted.

The Democrats clearly want to pass anything that can be called health care reform at any cost, even if it means embracing such canards as these tort reform proposals. While I have supported some tort reforms in the past, we are experiencing a high level of malpractice in this country that is only fueled by caps on damages and other limits on liability. I have long opposed caps on liability as in this column, here.

Tort reform is a bit of a misnomer since reform implies a change for the better. For victims, it can be more like malpractice protection.

For the full story, click here.

108 thoughts on “Obama To Cave On Tort Reform — Adding Provisions to Health Bill That Could Kill 4,800 a Year”

  1. Byron,

    I wasn’t subscribed to this thread, and I didn’t see this until now – my apologies.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  2. Puzzling:

    Excellent point. And they wonder why I am against government regulation.

    The big question is – who is regulating the regulators? Apparently the regulatees and making sweet deals for their own companies to boot.

    Byron: So Puzzling, if you don’t have government regulations what happens?

    Puzzling: Well Byron companies actually have to prove themselves in the market place and face competition from other companies competing for limited dollars and customers.

    Byron: Puzzling why does that regulate the market?

    Puzzling: I am so glad you asked that question. Because they have to improve services and lower costs to gather customers or they go out of business.

    Byron: So Goldman Sachs was trying to control the flow of customers by getting favors from government regulation?

    Puzzling: Exactly, by getting into bed with government they don’t need to be worried about competition because they can manipulate regulators to make favorable conditions for them.

    Byron: Puzzling are you implying that governments can create monopolies by granting most favored status to certain companies?

    Puzzling: If the shoe fits.

    Puzzling you may edit where you see fit. I have a feeling it wont be too much.

  3. Elaine,

    You wrote: Maybe a little more government regulation of the criminals on Wall Street would have helped us avoid the near collapse of our economy.

    The middle five minutes of the video shows the connections between firms like Goldman Sachs and government, player by player from the Clinton years through Bush to today. Goldman effectively controls the government and the policies that affect it. Asking for even more government is not the answer. Restricting the power of government is.

  4. Duh:

    I certainly understand that judges are lawyers but Senators, Congresspersons, government agency heads, and even Presidents can be lawyers too, and we don’t think twice about them serving as regulators. Their profession makes judges uniquely qualified to evaluate lawyers when asked to oversee them in their capacity as as public officials. Would you rather have a profession overseen by those with no knowledge or appreciation for the issues and the standard of care? How much effort would it really take to fool a group of persons on the intricacies of the Sherman Antitrust Act or securities regulation?

  5. Byron,

    In Missouri, the judges around the big cities stand for retention. That’s why having the Missouri Bar Association evaluate them is wrong. To have a committee of the Judiciary evaluate their own judges lacks independence. When evaluations started to look bad, jury evaluations were instituted. Juries don’t know anything except if the judge let them go early or kept them late. A nice judicial idiot would get good evals from them. In fact some of the judges with the worst ratings from the lawyers got excellent ratings from the juries. A jury eval has never hurt a judge.

    The Supreme Court can also remove any judge after recommendation from the disciplinary committee and a trial. The only one I know of was a lay judge from a small town.

    Impeachment is initiated in the House, but the trial is in the Missouri Supreme Court. (Starting to sound like too much inbreeding?) :>)

    Rural judges stand in partisan elections. I never understood why a judge would run on a partisan ticket for a job that requires them to be non-partisan.

  6. Duh:

    good points, judges should be able to be removed from office by some sort of method. This set for life stuff for lower court judges and state supreme court judges is ridiculous.

  7. Mespo,

    I don’t know about VA, but here in Missouri the Judges on the Missouri Supreme Court are lawyers too. The lawyer discipline is handled by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. They’re an agency of the Missouri Supreme Court.

    It is 100% self-policed.

    Who evaluates the judges? The Missouri Bar Association. One hand washes the other and they’re all attached to the same body. The more disciplinary action taken the worse the profession looks to the public. Who thinks a profession is going to takes steps to make themselves look worse to the public? I know good attorneys and I know bad attorneys.

    Do canibals think what they do is immoral?

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