Really–Malpractice Claims Are Not An Issue! Really.

November 13, 2009

Malpractice: Savings Reconsidered

In 2004 we accused President Bush of using “dubious statistics” to support his claim that limiting malpractice awards to injured patients could save the economy between $60 billion and $108 billion per year. Ever since, we’ve said most independent research indicated little if any savings from limiting malpractice liability, and just a few weeks ago we quoted the Congressional Budget Office as saying that only negligible savings could be expected.

Now CBO has revised its opinion, based on new evidence. Citing recent studies, including two new economic papers published only last month, CBO concludes that limiting malpractice liability would reduce total national health care spending by about one-half of 1 percent, or about $11 billion this year. That would save taxpayers about $41 billion over the next decade in lower Medicare, Medicaid and other federal spending for health care.

That’s still not close to what Bush claimed five years ago, and what some Republicans are still claiming. But it’s a significant point in favor of a health care proposal that is generally opposed by Democrats.

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