Obama Promises Tort Reform
Among the many facets of the broad health care reform plan that President Obama offered tonight during a speech before a joint session of Congress was a small but shiny bone for Republicans: tort reform.
“I don’t believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I’ve talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs,” said Obama. “So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. It’s a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today.”
In response, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) — a medical doctor, as he mentioned repeatedly in his speech on behalf of the Republicans — said: “We’re grateful the president mentioned medical liability reform and we hope he’s serious,” adding: “we need to establish tough liability reform standards” and discourage “junk lawsuits.”
It turns out, according to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, that Boustany himself has been sued for medical malpractice at least three times. No wonder he’s so gung-ho about tort reform.