Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Health care reform and medical malpractice

As the Obama administration starts to work on so called "health care reform," dead old themes regarding medical malpractice reform are coming back to life. In response, The PopTort reminds us that "everyone from the Congressional Budget Office to insurance experts (and also here) have consistently shown that malpractice premiums and claims are each a tiny percentage (1-2 percent) of overall health care costs. Actually, total medical malpractice payouts, for all injuries and deaths caused by medical negligence in the nation (hovering between $5 billion and $6 billion annually) is less than half of what Americans pay for dog and cat food each year. Yet the cost of preventable medical errors, which kill up to 98,000 people in hospitals each year, is a whopping $17 billion to $29 billion each year." For a very good and very readable discussion of many of the issues regarding medical malpractice reform, take a look at Tom Baker's The Medical Malpractice Myth. For an excerpt, go here.

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