Perhaps the most buzzed-about story while I was on vacation (I’m back now) was the frank acknowledgment by former Democratic Party chairman (and former physician) Howard Dean when asked why liability reform was omitted from the health care redesign. From the New York Times “Prescriptions” blog:
The man then asked why tort reform was not part of any health overhaul.
Dr. Dean replied that the more items in a big bill, the more enemies it will have. “The people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everyone else,” Dr. Dean said.
Dr. Dean also said he believed that patients should be able to bring actions against health care professionals, but they should go to arbitration. Then the case could go to trial, he said, but the arbitration verdict should be submitted as evidence. Not much reaction to that either way.
Mr. Moran [Northern Virginia Congressman Jim Moran] then apologized to the man whose identity he had questioned and added his 2 cents about why tort reform was not part of any bill. He said if it were, such a bill would have to go through the judiciary committee, which he said was one of the most partisan in Congress and would never have reported it out.
Commentary: Mark Tapscott/Examiner, Washington Times, Darrin McKinney/ATRA, Dan Pero linking Tiger Joyce/Investors Business Daily, Charles Krauthammer/FoxNews.com via Carter Wood/PoL and NRO “Corner”, Fred Barnes/Weekly Standard.
Relatedly, Philip K. Howard writes on “Stonewalling Legal Reform“, citing a Jon R. Gabel piece in the Times that rebuts a much-touted-by-trial-lawyers Congressional Budget Office report minimizing the likely cost reductions from malpractice reform. From the American Spectator Blog, “Conservative Leaders on Costly Lawsuits and Health Care Reform“. And Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO reiterates his argument that while malpractice reform is a good idea, it shouldn’t be imposed on the national level by the federal government.
More: Jim Lindgren at Volokh Conspiracy skewers an appalling report on health care “myths” which received, but did not deserve, the imprimatur of Indiana University.