The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

CBO: Tort Reform Would Cut Health Spending by 0.5%

Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 08:00 | Oct 09, 2009 23:18
Paolo Reyna

Enacting a comprehensive set of medical malpractice reforms would reduce nationwide health care spending by 0.5* percent, according to a report released today by the Congressional Budget Office. Over 10 years, the changes would reduce federal deficits by $54 billion.

Roughly 0.2 percent of the savings would come as a result of the reduction in providers’ malpractice insurance premiums, while an additional 0.3 percent would come from “slightly less utilization of health care services,” CBO noted.

CBO’s estimate takes into account the fact that because many states have already implemented some of the changes in the package, a significant fraction of the potential cost savings has already been realized.

The estimates are based on a package of reforms “similar” to the following:

– A cap of $250,000 on awards for noneconomic damages;

– A cap on awards for punitive damages of $500,000 or two times the award for economic damages, whichever is greater;

– Modification of the “collateral source” rule to allow evidence of income from such sources as health and life insurance, workers’ compensation, and automobile insurance to be introduced at trials or to require that such income be subtracted from awards decided by juries;

– A statute of limitations—one year for adults and three years for children—from the date of discovery of an injury; and

– Replacement of joint-and-several liability with a fair-share rule, under which a defendant in a lawsuit would be liable only for the percentage of the final award that was equal to his or her share of responsibility for the injury.

Those reforms would reduce federal spending by $41 billion over 10 years, CBO estimated, while increasing revenues an additional $13 billion. The numbers drew immediate praise from Republicans, who have pushed for years to rein in malpractice lawsuits. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who requested the CBO study, issued a statement arguing that the findings “show that this problem deserves more than lip service from policy-makers.”

Unfortunately, up to now, that has been all the President and his Democratic allies in Congress have been willing to provide on these issues.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, also weighed in, saying that “it makes no sense that congressional Democrats have taken malpractice reform off the table.”

CBO says comprehensive medical liability reform would reduce federal budget deficits by roughly $54 billion over the next 10 years. That’s not chump change.  It’s a no-brainer to include tort reform in any health care reform legislation.

*An earlier version of this post indicated that the savings would represent 0.2 percent of the nation’s health spending. In fact, the 0.2 percent figure represents only the savings derived from decreased malpractice insurance premiums. An additional 0.3 percent in savings would result from a “slightly less utilization of health care services,” CBO said.

Paolo Reyna | Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.


$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Democrats Take Aim at Medicare Private Plans

The push to slash billions of dollars for private insurers who cover Medicare patients has been met by relative silence, even from the program’s supporters.

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |