Monday, August 31, 2009

The hair on the end of the dog's tail?

I've been hearing more and more about medical malpractice reform as a possible key to healthcare reform. Yesterday in the New York Times, former Sen. Bill Bradley argued that a combination of healthcare reform and tort reform might be a way to get GOP votes for healthcare reform.

I'm skeptical about that, because I don't think that there will be any GOP votes for healthcare reform this year, beyond Olympia Snow and Susan Collins and one or two others, if that.

There's a long interview in today's Times with Professor Tom Baker, who's written a book, The Medical Malpractice Myth, and this interview summarizes data that "puts litigation costs and malpractice insurance at 1 to 1.5 percent of total medical costs. That’s a rounding error. Liability isn’t even the tail on the cost dog. It’s the hair on the end of the tail."

I like the description, "it's the hair on the end of the tail."
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