Maureen Groppe, writing for Gannett, has an article about increased attention to “tort reform” in the context of the health care debate.
Medical malpractice costs are getting increasing attention in the health care debate, despite studies that show capping jury awards in malpractice cases would do little to lower health care spending.
I mentioned last week Jeff Hagedorn’s opinion piece in the Perry County News citing studies that suggest the rise and fall of medical malpractice premiums correlate much more strongly with shifts in the stock market than they do with malpractice costs.
But, never mind the reality. That medical malpractice claims have something significant to do with health care costs has become an article of faith among voters and, consequently, among politicians seeking their votes.
The Groppe article points out that Indiana has a pretty doctor-friendly malpractice system and yet there is little evidence that this has done much to keep health care costs down in our state.
Indiana’s health spending per capita is slightly higher than the national average. Hoosiers spend less per person on doctors, but more for hospitals and health insurance premiums, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy research group.
WellPoint Inc., the Indianapolis-based insurance giant, said in a May report that malpractice suits are one of the popular explanations for rising health care costs, but falsely so.
I don’t really have a dog in the medical malpractice fight. I don’t practice that kind of law and, if I did, chances are I’d be defending and would find further restrictions advantageous for a client. But, in terms of the health care debate, it’s little more than a distraction.
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