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Frivolous litigation reform, oh it most certainly would


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Reform #3 - Tort Reform


Frivolous Litigation Reform - Improving Access to Care


While the rest of the United States ponders these issues, the state of Texas took action on its own. The Texas healthcare reforms of 2003 powerfully demonstrate how patient-friendly malpractice laws can improve access to care. Statistics tell the tale:


The Texas Experience Prior to Tort Reform


  • 85% of suits filed closed without payment to the patient.
  • The average verdict quadrupled in 10 years.
    • 1989 - $473,000
    • 1999 - $2,049,000
  • In 2000, 31 out of every 100 physicians were sued.
  • By 2002, so many physicians had left Texas it ranked 48th of 50 for patients per physician.
    • Texas: 152 physicians per 100,000 people
    • U.S. Average: 196 physicians per 100,000 people
  • 158 of 254 counties did not have an obstetrician.
  • Large hospital systems spent up to $400 million each year in legal/malpractice fees.
The Texas Experience Following Tort Reform in 2003


  • Physicians returned to Texas.
  • By 2006 Texas had risen from 48th to 42nd in the national physician to patient ration.
  • By 2007 nearly 600 OB/GYN physicians returned to practice in Texas.
  • The cost of malpractice insurance declined by an average of 21%.
  • Using its medical liability savings, Christus Hospital in Corpus Christi opened a Diabetes Excellence Center and a clinic for the indigent.
  • Using its medical liability savings, Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi opened satellite clinics in the border cities of Brownsville and McAllen.
  • Using its medical liability savings, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston installed an electronic medical record system to improve patient care.
Frivolous Litigation Reform - Reducing the Cost of Healthcare


The Pacific Research Institute estimates American physicians spend $124 billion each year in defensive medicine-more than half of the total 2006 U.S. national deficit! A 2003 Health and Human Services report estimated tort reform would save Medicare and Medicaid between $30 and $50 billion dollars every year. This savings does not include patients with employer-based insurance.


Tort reform will not only increase patient access to life-saving medical specialties such as obstetrics, trauma surgery, and neurosurgery, it will save between $60 and $80 billion each year without restricting access to care.


When the $50 billion savings of patient based insurance (Insurance Reform) is combined with the $70 billion savings of Tort Reform, we can reduce healthcare spending in the United States by approximately $120 billion each year without restricting access to care. These savings more than pay for the $80 billion plan (Tax Reform) to cover the uninsured Americans who earn less than $50,000.


By making healthcare work more efficiently through Insurance Reform, Tax Reform, and Tort Reform, we can save $40 billion dollars every year while giving every American access to care. Every government based National Health System in the world controls cost by restricting access to care. There is a better way.



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Sorry to burst your bubble, but the CBO scored the savings of the Republican tort reform plan, and it's nothing like the savings presented here. These are numbers from an advocacy group.


The CBO sad it'd save about $5 billion a year, and that's with those arbitrary caps at $250,000, which are ridiculous. $5 billion a year is nice, but you can save money lots of ways, and more of it. If this is really about saving money, why not a public option? That saves money. Limiting end of life treatment would save money. Cutting reimbursement rates would save money. Raising co-pays would save money.


You could do all sorts of things that save money. That doesn't mean they're good ideas.


Capping jury awards at $250,000 isn't a good idea. A more comprehensive system that treat actual victims of medical malpractice seriously while helping doctors lower their premiums and - most importantly - cuts down on wasteful preventative procedures ordered to avoid lawsuits should be the goals.


The Republican plan skips most of that and goes right to capping the damages.


The savings from even the proposed tort reforms aren't going to be enough to lower premiums in any real way. It's not a game-changer. It's nibbling around the edges of a huge problem.


I don't mind nibbling around the edges, especially when it can lead to real benefits, but the time it takes for conservatives to go from a real health care reform to one about tort reform is rather comical. It's like looking at a patient who's been shot and first treating his pink eye.

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Nope. You burst your own bubble.


The cbo said it would have saved 11 billion in 2009 alone. We are talking frivilous lawsuits, driving the malpractice costs

into the stratosphere.


A cap on legit wrongful treatment lawsuits would be completely wrong. That 11 billion, projected over ten years


would be...well.. you guys know. why avoid the issue, when it, at worst, would still be a good thing? WHY is the question.






CBO’s Analysis of the Effects of Proposals to Limit Costs Related to Medical Malpractice (“Tort Reform”)

Today CBO released a letter updating its analysis of the effects of proposals to limit costs related to medical malpractice (“tort reform”). Typical legislative proposals for tort reform have included caps on awards for noneconomic and punitive damages, rules allowing the introduction at trials of evidence about insurance payments and related sources of income, statutes of limitations on suits, and replacement of joint-and-several liability with a fair-share rule.


Tort reform could affect costs for health care both directly and indirectly: directly, by lowering premiums for medical liability insurance; and indirectly, by reducing the use of diagnostic tests and other health care services when providers recommend those services principally to reduce their potential exposure to lawsuits. Because of mixed evidence about whether tort reform affects the utilization of health care services, past analyses by CBO have focused on the impact of tort reform on premiums for malpractice insurance. However, more recent research has provided additional evidence to suggest that lowering the cost of medical malpractice tends to reduce the use of health care services.


CBO now estimates that implementing a typical package of tort reform proposals nationwide would reduce total U.S. health care spending by about 0.5 percent (about $11 billion in 2009). That figure is the sum of a direct reduction in spending of 0.2 percent from lower medical liability premiums and an additional indirect reduction of 0.3 percent from slightly less utilization of health care services. (Those estimates take 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.)


Enacting a typical set of proposals would reduce federal budget deficits by roughly $54 billion over the next 10 years, according to estimates by CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee of Taxation. That figure includes savings of roughly $41 billion from Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, as well as an increase in tax revenues of roughly $13 billion from a reduction in private health care costs that would lead to higher taxable wages.




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Um, Cal. Read your own post. Hell, read the part you bolded. What's $54 billion divided by ten years? Um, it's what I said.


Besides, you're trying to have it both ways. Don't cap legitimate cases of malpractice at $250,000. Okay, well you just lost a lot of your savings. Because that's how they save a lot of the money.


It's just not the big solution you guys think. It's just part of it. A small part.

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I did read my own post doggone it. :angry:


That's how I knew to bold those bolds, eh?


You didn't catch the 11 billion that would have been saved in 09 if we had


those tort reform proposals in place?


I don't care about losing some of the savings, I care about the rightness


of the way to go about implementing reform to correct what needs to be corrected.


Why the desire to refuse adding it to hc insurance reform? Why? Since when


is 11 freakin BILLION chicken feed to progressives/liberals/or even some spendthrift Republicans?


You are just trying not to Thank me. @@

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