(My thanks to commenters below) I guess I have not written about this idea - which I indeed support. Not just due to the normal friction between doctors, lawyers, and engineers in jokes, mind you, but because our medical malpractice system truly has been shown - like large banks - to be incapable of self-regulating.
That said, it it NOT much help in addressing health care costs.
The CBO report lends credence to Republican arguments that substantive limits on malpractice lawsuits will reduce health-care costs. However, President Obama opposes one of the chief proposed changes the CBO studied, caps on jury awards, and analysts give the measures little chance of passage.
"These numbers show that this problem deserves more than lip service from policy-makers," Hatch said in a statement. "Unfortunately, up to now, that has been all the President and his Democratic allies in Congress have been willing to provide."The letter comes in response to questions Hatch raised during the Senate Finance Committee's recent debate over health-care reform.Elmendorf wrote that newly available research prompted CBO to update "its analysis of the effects of tort reform." The agency's conclusion: A package of reforms that included a $250,000 cap on damages for pain and suffering and a $500,000 cap on punitive damages "would reduce total national health care spending by about 0.5 percent."
The federal government would reap a substantial portion of those savings, the CBO said, primarily through reduced Medicare costs. [More]
There are other (usually older), larger estimates of savings, but the CBO is the Gold Standard for these comparisons. It is as well the most recent. Also the recent exposure of the McAllen, TX medical fiasco - a state that boasts strict malpractice limits - is not encouraging.
It is hard to imagine how tort reform would help the uninsured, for example. Like removing interstate barriers to insurance sales (which the HCR bill allows via coops) it is a small, worthwhile gesture that avoids tackling any substantive curve-bending.
Nonetheless, I think the Republicans could easily get tort reform if they were to negotiate in good faith.
I got this note from someone with many decades' experience in national politics, about a discussion between two Congressmen over details of the stimulus bill:
"GOP member: 'I'd like this in the bill.'
"Dem member response: 'If we put it in, will you vote for the bill?'
"GOP member: 'You know I can't vote for the bill.'
"Dem member: 'Then why should we put it in the bill?'
"I witnessed this myself." [More]
Now about the other 99.5%...