A Daily Kos blog argued against healthcare tort reform proposals, noting medical malpractice’s less than 1.5% of healthcare costs “hardly makes tort reform worthy of the attention it receives for cutting health care costs. Furthermore, tort reform has already been implemented in more than half of the states in some form,” so many states would feel no impact from additional reforms. The blog cited Texas’ growing healthcare costs and lead status in the number of uninsured citizens, even after implementing tort reforms in 2003. Also, tort reforms wouldn’t necessarily reduce defensive medicine practices, as litigation risks will always exist, and “evidence suggests that the profit motive” from defensive medicine “would continue to drive defensive medicine practices.”
Patient safety improvement key to malpractice reform. MedCity News blogger and MedPharma Partners founder David Williams wrote malpractice reform should center on increasing patient safety. In noting that “the malpractice system is going away entirely,” Williams suggested shifting “some or all of the savings to education and re-engineering of care processes to improve patient safety in order to prevent the emergence of situations that the malpractice system is meant to address.” He cited a Boston Globe op-ed highlighting the danger posed to patients that result from a lack of coordination between doctors. He also challenged arguments that lawsuit fears lead to defensive medicine by suggesting the practice could be a function of patient preference. He added, “A much bigger impact on unnecessary tests will be had by shifting the payment system toward capitation.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.