When Congress returns for the new year, lawmakers are expected to consider an aggressive course of actions involving America’s health care system. I’ve written about this, cautioning especially about the many likely counterfactual contentions that will be made about the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid. I’ve also expressed my dismay about the zeal with which Tom Price, the president-elect’s choice to be the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, and other partisans have proclaimed a need for so-called “tort reform,” major changes affecting the ability of consumers to get legal redress by lawsuits when they have suffered preventable serious injuries at the hands of the medical industry. The independent, nonpartisan Kaiser Health News Service, a national health policy news organization whose reporting appears in major media including the Washington Post, has taken a detailed look at this issue and is reprinted here with permission. The story is worth reading in full:
By Chad Terhune | Kaiser Health NewsTop Republicans say a medical malpractice crisis is threatening U.S. health care: Frivolous lawsuits are driving up malpractice insurance premiums and forcing physicians out of business. Doctors and hospitals live in fear of litigation, ordering excessive tests and treatments that make health care unaffordable for Americans.
That’s why House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), tapped to be the nation’s top health official by President-elect Donald Trump, are vowing to make tort reform a key part of their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.
But according to researchers and industry experts, the reality doesn’t match the rhetoric. They say the nation’s medical malpractice insurance industry is running smoothly and has not been in crisis for more than a decade.