Obamacare Fails to Address Tort Reform

Side note: The massive health care reform bill, passed by Congress earlier this year, did address many of the problems in the nation’s health care system. Yet it failed to address one of the key factors contributing to skyrocketing health care costs, medical malpractice law reform. Even though President Obama stated in a speech, given in 2009, that doctors are forced to perform unnecessary tests and treatments, to protect themselves from medical malpractice lawsuits, the massive reform bill did nothing to address the topic of out of control medical malpractice litigation.

By PETER ORSZAG
New York Times

The health care legislation that Congress enacted earlier this year, contrary to much of today’s overheated rhetoric, does many things right. But it does almost nothing to reform medical malpractice laws. Lawmakers missed an important opportunity to shield from malpractice liability any doctors who followed evidence-based guidelines in treating their patients.

As President Obama noted in his speech to the American Medical Association in June 2009, too many doctors order unnecessary tests and treatments only because they believe it will protect them from a lawsuit. Instead, he said, “We need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first, let doctors focus on practicing medicine and encourage broader use of evidence-based guidelines.”

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