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Friday, September 25, 2009

Small Biz Health Care Daily: Medical Liability Reform

Earlier this month, the President at least mentioned medical liability reform in the midst of the big debate over health care reform.

This is an issue that needs to be dealt with in terms of frivolous lawsuits driving up health care costs and the practice of defensive medicine.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (TX) laid out some interesting points in a recent piece for The Hill’s Congress Blog:

• “Ten years ago, we faced a terrible shortage of doctors in Texas. One of the main reasons was the high amount frivolous lawsuits and jackpot justice. By enacting much-needed medical liability reform, that is starting to change and our state is now going in the right direction.”

• “The CBO estimated that the federal government would directly save about $5.6 billion dollars from the types of reforms enacted in Texas, and that total health care spending could be reduced further if these reforms reduced the practice of defensive medicine. Other academic studies have concluded liability reform could save between 5 and 9 percent of health care costs. These reforms will also increase access to health care, especially to high-risk medical specialties.”

Cornyn concluded: “Medical liability reform can’t solve all the problems in our health care system – but no health care reform bill will ever be comprehensive without it.” True.

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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