Critical Condition

Tort Talk

Please check out my piece in yesterday’s Washington Times. The piece entitled “Defensive Medicine Costs” raises a new argument supporting tort reform. Much has been said about the cost of defensive medicine. Perhaps the biggest cost of these unneccessary tests and procedures is not their cost per se, but their opportunity cost:

While some medical cases can be quite complex and such inordinate documentation can help organize the case more clearly in the doctor’s mind, often this is not the case. Primarily this degree of documentation is done out of necessity to keep the pesky lawyers at bay. In fact, by wasting valuable physician time that could be better spent actually seeing patients, it can be counterproductive to a patient’s well-being.

Mr. Obama has pledged $25 million in grants for medical malpractice initiatives to study the matter. In the grand scheme of thing,s this is mere pocket change. Remember that the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) alone had $8.6 billion earmarked from the stimulus, but for this essential endeavor, the House bill just can’t find money. I wonder why?

To pay for their version of health care reform, progressives have pondered taxing everything from soda to air and much in between. By seriously addressing the defensive-medicine issue, Congress would not only improve the quality of health care in this country, but fund a significant aspect of reform efforts, if not the whole thing. Unfortunately, Democrats do not seem willing to stand up to the powerful tort bar and its lavish campaign contributions.

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