Finally, the Congressional Budget Office confirms what many of us have known for a very long time: medical malpractice lawsuits is not a major driver of the rise in health care costs. Hopefully, this will put this issue to rest once and for all. But don't bet the farm on it.
First of all, let me put a disclaimer: I don't have a firm position on whether there should be limits on medical malpractice lawsuits. But I do know that what should be a rational debate has been turned on its head by the right wing's usual scare tactics: unless we put caps on awards given by juries, our health care costs will soar through the stratosphere.
Well read pages 21-22 on thisrecently released analysis of various health care policy option:
By reducing the average size of malpractice awards, tort limits would ultimately reduce the cost of malpractice insurance premiums. But in CBO’s estimation, the effect would be relatively small—less than 0.5 percent of total health care spending.
So there you have it folks. All the attention that has been devoted to this topic by the media, at the behest of the right-wing noise machine, in order to reduce health care costs by one half of one percent.
Of course, the CBO had to throw in the 'defensive medicine' argument that the Right likes to make:
Proponents of limits on malpractice torts believe that such limits could reduce health care spending by much more than CBO’s estimate, perhaps by as much as 7 percent to 9 percent, primarily because of the reduction inthe practice of defensive medicine.
Curiously, the CBO does not attempt to evaluate this particular claim, which makes me think that the Budget Office does not take it seriously, but felt it had to be thrown the report in order to avoid charges of bias from Congressional Republicans.