Malpractice reform would save $54B: study
"The Doctors hate Him But The Lawyers love him !"
Reforming medical-malpractice laws could save the federal government $54 billion over 10 years and slash doctors' and hospitals' insurance costs by 10 percent, according to a congressional study released yesterday.
But there's one problem -- none of the Democratic-run proposals advancing in Congress include any of the reforms covered in the Congressional Budget Office analysis.
The CBO report was based on recommendations from Republican lawmakers that would curb the number of suits filed and limit medical-malpractice payments to victims and their lawyers.
Savings would be realized by reducing "defensive" medicine costs that doctors use to avoid litigation and through lower malpractice payments. That means doctors would order fewer unnecessary but costly lab tests.
The analysis was based on the following proposals:
* Cap awards for non-economic damages for pain and suffering at $250,000 and punitive damages at $500,000.
* Impose statutes of limitations of one year for adults and three years for children, from the date an injury is first noticed.
* Obtain more income disclosure from defendants, and factor them into jury awards.
New York does not currently cap jury awards for malpractice cases.
The CBO estimates that health-care providers are paying $35 billion this year for malpractice liability.