Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Professor: Tort Reform Will Not Lower Healthcare Costs

In its Prescriptions blog, the New York Times interviews Tom Baker, a professor of law and health sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, on reasons why tort reform may not lower healthcare costs. He argues that "making the legal system less receptive to medical malpractice lawsuits will not significantly affect the costs of medical care." Baker calls tort reform "a red herring," arguing that "as the cost of healthcare goes up, the medical liability component of it has stayed fairly constant. That means it's part of the medical price inflation system, but it's not driving it." He calls the idea that there are many frivolous lawsuits "ludicrous" and points out, "We have approximately the same number of claims today as in the late 1980s. Think about that. The cost of healthcare has doubled since then."

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